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Supreme Court Rules Power Plant Emissions Regulations Will Remain In Place

Fayette County Power Plant outside of LaGrange

Supreme Court justices have decided that new emissions standards for coal-fired power plants will remain in effect while the Environmental Protection Agency fixes language within the original order.   

The decision follows a lawsuit filed by a 20-state coalition of state attorneys general, including Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton.   When the High Court agreed to hear the matter late last year, Paxton called the regulations unjust and an undue burden for Texas families.

“It’s a violation of the law, it’s a violation of the constitution.  We also believe and we know that’s going to have a tremendous impact on utility prices," Paxton says.

The new regulations change how much allowable mercury and other toxic chemicals primarily coal-fired power plants emit into air.

Luke Metzer is the executive director for the non-profit Environment Texas.  Metzer says Texas leads the nation in the amount of mercury emitted into the air from power plants and as a result he says that has left the fish population in 300,000 acres of Texas’ lakes unconsumable.

“And we also know that these emissions from the power plants are linked to heart attacks and premature deaths, so the mercury rule will save lives and help clean up our lakes," Metzer explains.

As part of their ruling, justices ordered that the new regulations remain in place while the EPA finishes writing a cost-analysis for these power plants to retrofit their smoke stacks with special filters that decreases the amount of mercury being emitted into the surrounding air.