Federal appeals court preserves EPA mercury regulation
Federal appeals court preserves EPA mercury regulation

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Tuesday issued an order [text, PDF] preserving Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] regulations [text, PDF] that limit mercury emissions and other hazardous pollutants from coal-fired power plants. The decision comes after the US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-4 in June [JURIST report] that the EPA could not make regulations regarding the toxic emissions of power plants without considering costs. The Supreme Court sent the EPA cases back to the appellate level to run a cost benefit analysis to determine the validity of the regulations on power plants. The DC Circuit permitted the rule’s continued enforcement, noting that the EPA plans to issue a new regulation [AP report] in the coming months.

The EPA has been involved in many high profile cases and issues over the past year. In June the Supreme Court limited the power [JURIST report] of the agency to regulate greenhouse gases while still leaving the agency free to do so in most cases. In August the EPA proposed new rules [JURIST report] to cut methane emissions by the oil and gas industry, as part of the Obama administration’s commitment to taking action on climate change. Also in August the US District Court of the District of North Dakota granted a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] against a rule granting the EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction over small US waterways. In another recent case involving the Clean Water Act, two environmental groups filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] last December against the EPA ccusing the agency of failing to comply with a court order to strengthen storm drain pollution regulation.