Court's EPA Ruling Disappoints Maine Environmental Groups

Jun 29, 2015

WASHINGTON - Environmental groups in Maine are expressing disappointment with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward with a rule that would limit the release of mercury and other pollutants from power plants.

In a 5-4 ruling the court found that the EPA did not adequately consider the costs to about 600 affected utility companies.

But Taryn Hallweaver of the group Environment Maine says the rule also would have prevented an estimated 11,000 deaths each year from dirty air.

"EPA had calculated the public health benefits to this mercury limit at between $37 to $90 billion dollars in 2016 alone, and the cost of the rule at $10 billion a year. which I think is a pretty darn good return on investment."

Industry groups and more than 20 Republican-led states filed suit against the federal government, arguing that the EPA did not consider costs of the regulations. The rule now goes back to lower courts for the EPA to decide how to account for those costs.

Hallweaver says her group and others will continue to press for the standards which are of special significance in Maine, which is downwind of the power plants.