On February 22, 20 states – AL, AK, AZ, AR, ID, IA, KS, KY, MI, MS, MO, NE, ND, OH, OK, SC, TX, UT, WV and WY – filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to stay U.S. EPA’s 2014 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule.
This past June, in an opinion written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court ruled that EPA should have completed a cost-benefit analysis before beginning the regulatory process for the MATS rule and sent the rule back to the DC Circuit to decide if the EPA should be allowed to proceed with enforcement. In December 2015, the DC Circuit ruled that the EPA could continue to enforce the MATS rule as it fixed the problem identified by the Supreme Court. Lawyers with the Obama Administration tell The Hill that the cost-benefit analysis would be complete by April 2016.
Trade publication Utility Dive reports that most coal plants affected by the MATS rule have either completed emission control upgrades or have shut down. However, one-year extensions to the MATS rule compliance deadline of April 2015 were granted to about 200 plants which represent about 20% of U.S. generating capacity.
Chief Justice John Roberts handles stay petitions. While he could rule on the request unilaterally, his decision would be subject to appeal. It is more likely that he will put the decision to the eight-judge bench.