Jun 30 2015

Supreme Court Undermines EPA’s Ability to Regulate Mercury Emissions

GUEST: Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of ‘The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan’, and ‘Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq’. He has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

After a series of high-profile losses at the Supreme Court, conservatives celebrated yesterday when the nation’s highest court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired plants. Claiming that that EPA had not done a cost-benefit analysis of the standards it was expecting companies to meet, Justice Antonin Scalia claimed that “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.”

The 20 states that sued the EPA in conjunction with a number of fossil fuels companies claimed that the government agency was imposing billions of dollars in costs to achieve a few million in benefits. The ruling is not the end of the road however. The EPA may be able to continue regulating toxic pollutants under the Clean Air Act once it conducts cost-benefit analyses.

President Obama, stymied by Congressional gridlock on climate change legislation, has attempted to use the authority of the EPA as a tool to curb greenhouse gas emissions to cement his environmental legacy. It should be noted however, that the President has also championed such dirty fuels as fracking and tar sands, and endorsed mythical products like “clean coal.”

To read Dahr Jamail’s article “Sixth Great Mass Extinction Event Begins; 2015 on Pace to Become Hottest Year on Record”, click HERE, or to read more of his work at TruthOut.org.

One response so far

One Response to “Supreme Court Undermines EPA’s Ability to Regulate Mercury Emissions”

  1. Kafantarison 01 Jul 2015 at 3:44 am

    “We evaluated the land use, emissions, climate, and cost implications of 3 published but divergent storylines for future energy production, none of which was optimal for all environmental and economic indicators. Using multicriteria decision-makinganalysis, we ranked 7 major electricity-generation sources (coal, gas, nuclear, biomass, hydro, wind, and solar) based on costs and benefits and tested the sensitivity of the rankings to biases stemming from contrasting philosophical ideals. Irrespective of weightings, nuclear and wind energy had the highest benefit-to-cost ratio. Although the environmental movement has historically rejected the nuclear energy option, new-generation reactor technologies that fully recycle waste and incorporate passive safety systems might resolve their concerns and ought to be more widely understood.”

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12433/abstract;jsessionid=C3C7CE5E5C4D684B3A127A87008DCC2D.f03t03://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12433/abstract;jsessionid=C3C7CE5E5C4D684B3A127A87008DCC2D.f03t03