“So the benefits appear to be bogus and the costs real.”
Thursday’s publication of the EPA’s mercury and air toxics rule in the Federal Register means it’s official — let the legal challenges begin.
Publishing the rule triggers three major outcomes: It starts the countdown clock for compliance, giving utilities up to five years to meet the rule’s requirements. It means the rule can be challenged in the Senate with a Congressional Review Act resolution. And it opens a 60-day window for opponents to file suit.
Most companies are already working on their compliance plans — although, consultant Michael Bradley notes, 21 states already have air toxics rules that are generally in line with EPA’s standards. Utilities in those states may be in various stages of compliance, he said.
In the Senate, Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe said he will file a CRA challenge against the rule on Thursday. He will look for a vote at a much later date, Inhofe’s spokesman Matt Dempsey said, after floor discussion and efforts to court the votes of Democrats who have expressed concern about the EPA’s regulatory reach.
As for the lawsuits, the first batter up is the National Mining Association, which said it will file a petition for review as soon as Thursday.
NMA spokesman Luke Popovich said the rule doesn’t appear to meet the Clean Air Act’s requirements for setting emissions standards.
“EPA cherry-picked the science, instead of letting scientific evidence dictate the standards,” Popovich said. “EPA chose the plant test results that supported their stringent standards and ignored the many other tests that invalidated them. They also appear to practice double accounting worthy of any loan shark — claiming benefits for the rule that they’ve previously attributed to other rules and less stringent standards.”
“So the benefits appear to be bogus and the costs real,” he added.
Other groups are more hesitant to announce plans to file lawsuits…