The 2012 mercury and air toxics standards, which apply to about 600 power plants, established emissions limits for mercury, filterable particulate matter as a surrogate for toxic metals, and hydrogen chloride as a surrogate for acid gases. The EPA estimates that the standards will cost the power industry $9.6 billion annually.
- Click here for a more thorough explanation.
The simple issue the court ruled on - and was divided over - was whether the benefits from the rule were compatible with the $9.6 billion cost. The majority said it didn't, the minority said it did.
The rulemaking process is discussed in both 2305 and 2306 in the sections on the executive branch - especially the bureaucracy.It's the mechanism through which laws are clarified so that they can be implemented by the appropriate agency.
For specifics on the EPA's rulemaking process click here:
- EPA: The Basics of the Regulatory Process.
For a more thorough look at the rulemaking process click here:
- A Guide to the Rulemaking Process.
For detail on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard click here.
The Supreme Court argued that these rules did not properly take into consideration the costs imposed on industry and that a lower court had to re argue the case with that in mind.
For more on the rule:
- Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Challenges To EPA’s Mercury Standards for Power Plants.
- The Dangerous Consequences of the Supreme Court's Ruling on Mercury Pollution.
- Mercury and Air Toxics Standards: 25 Years in the Making.