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Michigan v. EPA: Reactions and Ramifications


June 30, 2015



An ELI Member Seminar

The biggest environmental and energy case on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014-2015 docket, Michigan v. EPA, was decided on June 29, 2015.

In question was EPA’s decisionmaking process while promulgating mercury emissions regulations for power plants. Twenty-one states and trade organizations representing coal-fired power plants and coal mining companies petitioned the Court, arguing that EPA’s failure to take the cost of compliance with the regulations into account was not “appropriate” under the Clean Air Act. Public health and environmental advocacy organizations, as well as other states and power companies, came to EPA’s defense claiming a cost benefit analysis is only necessary when setting the level of regulation for a particular pollutant, not when deciding whether to regulate at all. Underlying both claims are drastically different calculations of the public health and environmental benefits expected to be gained through implementation of mercury controls.

Our panel of attorneys involved in the case presented their reactions to the Court’s decision. Speakers reviewed the arguments, analyzed the Justices’ opinions, discussed ramifications of the case, and fielded questions from the audience.

Ann Weeks, Senior Counsel and Legal Director, Clean Air Task Force (moderator)
Peter S. Glaser, Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP
Graham McCahan, Senior Attorney, Environmental Defense Fund
Robert B. McKinstry, Jr., Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP
Lori Schmidt, Associate General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
William L. Wehrum, Partner, Hunton & Williams LLP

Michigan v. EPA SCOTUS opinion

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