Tag Archives: Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

D.C. Circuit Court Issues Order Remanding MATS Rule to EPA Without Vacatur

By Lesly A.R. Davis

On December 15, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an Order that will  leave in place the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards final rule while the agency works to issue final findings as ordered by the United States Supreme  Court.  In  White Stallion Energy Center, LLC, et al. v.  United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al.,  No. 12-1100 (Dec. 15, 2015), the D.C. Circuit directed  that the proceedings be remanded to the EPA without vacatur of the MATS final rule.  The D.C. Circuit  also noted that EPA has represented that it is on track to issue a final finding by April 15, 2016.

The MATS rule has  a very lengthy and controversial history.  On February 16, 2012, the EPA issued national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for coal and oil-fired electric generating  units (EGUs),  known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).   The MATS rule finalized standards to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants including mercury, arsenic and heavy metals.   EPA proposed to regulate these emissions under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).   Industry, states and Continue reading D.C. Circuit Court Issues Order Remanding MATS Rule to EPA Without Vacatur

Supreme Court Overturns EPA’s MATS Rule

By Max E. Bridges

Supreme Court 2On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), an Obama administration effort to limit toxic emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from Electric Generating Units (EGUs). In a 5-4 decision under the name Michigan v. EPA, the Court held the EPA unreasonably interpreted the Clean Air Act (CAA) to not require consideration of emissions reduction costs when it decided whether to regulate HAP emissions from EGUs. The 1990 amendment to the Clean Air Act included several provisions to force reduction of EGU emissions that according to Justice Scalia “were expected to have the collateral effect of reducing [their] emission of [HAPs].”  So, Congress directed the EPA to study public health hazards posed by HAP emissions from EGUs and regulate the emissions under Section 112 of the Act if the Agency found that to be “appropriate and necessary.” CAA §7412(n)(1).  In 2000 the EPA found regulation of HAP emissions from oil and coal fueled EGUs to be appropriate and necessary without giving any consideration to the costs or benefits of such regulation.  Then in 2012 the EPA reaffirmed that Continue reading Supreme Court Overturns EPA’s MATS Rule