Alabama reacts to Supreme Court rejecting EPA regulatory initiative

Supreme Court
Photo Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked one of the Obama administration’s most aggressive environmental initiatives — an Environmental Protection Agency effort to limit certain power plant emissions — saying the agency “unreasonably” failed to consider the cost of the regulations.

Writing for the majority, in the 5-to-4 decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “It is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits. Statutory context supports this reading.”

The challenge against the EPA was brought by industry groups and 21 Republican-led states, including Alabama.

Here are reactions from elected officials and political groups in Alabama:

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby:

The Supreme Court’s ruling rightly pointed out that the Obama Administration’s EPA failed to weigh the costs of its regulation on the economy and job creation.  The EPA’s blatant disregard of the impact that its policymaking would have on the American people underscores the need to rein in this out-of-control agency.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01):

The Supreme Court ruled today that the EPA “unreasonably” failed to consider the cost of a proposed regulation on power plants. This should be considered a major victory for families and small businesses who would have likely seen their power bills go up. I will continue to look for ways to push back against the activist EPA as they continue to churn out expensive regulations.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02):

The Supreme Court’s ruling to block the EPA’s aggressive, costly regulation of power plants is a win for our state and consumers. This attempt at ‘backdoor-legislating’ is all too common at federal agencies, and the Court was right to put a stop to it. There hasn’t been a lot out of this Supreme Court to be happy about out lately, but I am glad to see them stop this agency’s radical environmental agenda, and I hope lower courts do the same.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03):

I’ve long believed the EPA under President Obama has greatly overstepped its authority, especially with its War on Coal. This ruling is the latest evidence. Congress must continue to work to stop the EPA from pursuing its radical, jobs-threatening agenda.

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06):

When deciding whether or not to propose new regulations, the first step should always be determining whether the benefits outweigh the costs. The EPA’s decision to move forward without considering the impact on individuals and the economy was ill-advised and I am pleased the Supreme Court recognized that.

This Administration has been open about the fact that they want to put the coal industry out of business, regardless of what reasonable standards they may meet. This case is a blow to those efforts. I will continue to work in Congress to rein in the EPA when they overreach on environmental policy.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange:

Alabama and 21 other states joined Michigan in the successful lawsuit challenging the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act in which the agency ignored its legal obligation to consider costs of new power plant regulations as well as the impact upon health and the environment.

The EPA chose to impose costly new regulations on electric utility emissions without considering the financial impact upon both the plant operators and the consumers.  In this case, the EPA’s projected cost for a new mercury emission regulation would outweigh the benefit by a factor of 2 to 1.

The EPA claims they don’t have to consider cost in power plant regulations under the Clean Air Act.  However, the law requires both a study to evaluate health risks and a separate consideration of whether the regulation would be ‘appropriate and necessary.’

Today’s decision deals a major setback to the EPA’s overreach agenda and should send a signal to the agency that it cannot continue to end run the law in pursuit of a radical political agenda.

Commissioner of the Alabama Public Service Commission Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh:

Today’s ruling on the EPA by the U.S. Supreme Court was too little and too late for the hard-working people of this country. The U.S. Supreme Court simply acknowledged what we already knew. They rightly recognized that the EPA, in its zeal to push through the liberal agenda of President Obama and his radical environmental cronies, completely disregarded the harm it would cause consumers. These mandates have already cost the consumers and small businesses across this state and nation billions in unnecessary expenses. The simple analogy is you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube. Companies have already shut down coal-fired units and spent billions of dollars to comply with EPA regulations.

That is why I will continue to fight for affordable and reliable electricity and against the radical environmental agenda.


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