Supreme Court Tells EPA to Consider Costs of Clean Air Act Regulation

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Legal by on June 30, 2015 1 Comment

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrongly chose to ignore the costs of a regulation when it promulgated a rule that would have cost $9.6 billion to implement, and deliver only $4-6 million in benefits.

The case – Michigan, et al v. Environmental Protection Agency – involved a Clean Air Act regulation targeting power plants. NAHB joined other industry associations in submitting an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to require EPA to consider costs as part of the rulemaking process. In a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court held that EPA unreasonably interpreted a provision of the Clean Air Act to exclude cost considerations when it promulgated the rule at issue in this case.

While the opinion applies primarily to one provision of the Clean Air Act, the court made clear that cost considerations are generally – and correctly – an important component of reasoned rulemaking. Additionally, the court’s decision reinforces the principle that agency statutory interpretations found to be unreasonable will be struck down, despite the generous deference courts give to agency decisions.

The Supreme Court’s opinion in Michigan v. EPA will prove very useful to NAHB and its members in situations where agencies seek to avoid accounting for a regulation’s cost.

For more information, email Amy Chai at NAHB or call her at 800-368-5242 x8232.

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  1. robin says:

    interesting–now if they will listen !

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