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Breaking News: Supreme Court rejects EPA’s Mercury & Air Toxics Standards

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The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency should have considered compliance costs before issuing its landmark limits for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from power plants.

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, also known as the MATS rule,  went into effect earlier this year and was challenged heavily by states and industry groups.

The Court’s decision to reject MATS overturns an April 2014 ruling from the D.C. Circuit Court that ruled the EPA acted within its legal mandate when interpreting the Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court remanded the ruling back to the D.C. Circuit Court, which means MATS will remain in effect until the circuit court reconsiders the rule.

The MATS rule was written to limit the amount of mercury generated by power plants. When the rule went into effect in April 2015, the power industry largely complied.

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Dozens of coal plants have already been closed by companies anticipating the new limits. However, 173 plants did receive a one-year extension for compliance.

Moving forward, it’s expected that the court’s decision on MATS will have little impact on the nation’s power generation. It will, however, have a bigger impact on how the EPA writes future rules. 

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Posted: June 29, 2015