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In blow to Schuette, SCOTUS declines to take up second challenge to pollution rules

Jun 13, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court has stymied the Michigan Attorney General’s second bid to put some new air pollution rules on hold.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette spearheaded a case, Michigan v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that challenged the EPA’s proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

Those rules limit mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.

In 2015, the Supreme Court handed Schuette a victory when it narrowly ruled the EPA didn’t properly consider the cost to polluters when making the rule.

But the case was returned to DC Circuit Court, while allowed the MATS rule to remain in place while the EPA did that analysis. It finalized the rule earlier this year.

In March, Schuette and representatives for 22 other states again asked the Supreme Court to intervene, rule the circuit court had erred, and throw the regulations out altogether.

But the court’s eight justices declined to do that Monday.

“The United States Supreme Court correctly awarded Michigan a victory last year in this case of unconstitutional federal overreach,” Schuette spokeswoman Andrea BItely said in a statement. “The EPA blatantly refused to follow that ruling, requiring us to return to the USSC. 

“We are very disappointed in the post-Scalia Court’s decision this year to not enforce Michigan’s victory.”

But environmental groups and others how had fought to salvage the rules celebrated the Court’s decision.

“MATS offers tremendous benefits for the American people by protecting their health, at reasonable costs to industry,” said Sanjay Narayan, an attorney for the Sierra Club.

“The Supreme Court correctly rejected the latest industry challenge to these vital protections against dangerous, toxic pollutants — pollutants which have, until these Standards, put the health of young children across the country at risk.”