U.S. Supreme Court sides with Kansas against EPA regulations

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The U.S. Supreme Court today struck down federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would have driven up costs to Kansas electricity ratepayers, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

The Court sided with Kansas and 20 other states, agreeing that it is “appropriate and necessary” for the EPA to consider costs when it issues regulations on power plant emissions.

“Today’s ruling is a big win for anyone who pays for electricity,” Schmidt said. “In my view, the Supreme Court did the right thing by concluding that the law requires EPA to take into account the cost of the new regulations it is proposing. In the real world, cost matters.”

The decision reversed a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which upheld the EPA’s regulations.

The case stemmed from a 2011 EPA rule for electric utilities, known as the “Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” or “MATS.” The rule sought to impose stringent limits on certain emissions from power plants that would have required the installation of costly new equipment. The emission limits in the final rule, along with short deadlines for compliance, presented significant challenges for owners and operators of existing coal- and oil-fired electric utility units and presented a barrier to the construction of new coal-fired generators. By the EPA’s own estimate, implementation of this rule would have cost electric utilities – and ultimately, electricity ratepayers – $9.6 billion per year.

Kansas was one of the 21 state plaintiffs in the case who brought the successful challenge to the EPA action. The case was Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency.

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