President Barack Obama was blocked on Monday from regulating emissions through an environmental initiative by the checks and balances of our government when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to block limits on emissions. The New York Times,
SCOTUS blocked one of “Obama administration’s most ambitious environmental initiatives… meant to limit emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from coal-fired power plants…
The Clean Air Act required the regulations to be “appropriate and necessary.” The challengers said the agency had run afoul of that law by deciding to regulate the emissions without first undertaking a cost-benefit analysis.
The agency responded that it was not required to take costs into account when it made the initial determination to regulate.. [later adding] that, in any event, the benefits far outweighed the costs.
[In clashing justifications]… Industry groups said the government had imposed annual costs of $9.6 billion to achieve about $6 million in benefits. The agency said the costs yielded tens of billions of dollars in benefits.
“For E.P.A. to focus its ‘appropriate and necessary’ determination on factors relating to public health hazards, and not industry’s objections that emission controls are costly, properly puts the horse before the cart,” Judge Judith W. Rogers wrote for the majority.
In dissent, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh said that, in context, the statute required attention to costs “as a matter of common sense, common parlance and common practice.”