Michigan v. EPA

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Environmental Law
  • Date Filed: June 29, 2015
  • Case #: 14–46
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion. KAGAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

The EPA must consider costs and quantifiable benefits when imposing Clean Air Act regulations on power plants.

Under §1742 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA is permitted to regulate power plants when it determines that the “regulation is appropriate and necessary.” In 2012, the EPA promulgated mercury and other air pollutant standards that it estimated would cost nearly $10 billion per year and that would provide benefits of $4-6 billion per year. The EPA chose to exclude cost considerations when it concluded that its regulation of power plants was “appropriate and necessary.” Petitioners, made up of 23 states, challenged the EPA’s refusal to consider costs when imposing the power plant regulations. The court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the EPA’s decision not to consider costs. The Court stated that “’appropriate and necessary’ is a capricious phrase” and refusing to consider costs is an unreasonable interpretation of §1742. The Court reversed and remanded.

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