Justices to hear arguments over EPA mercury limits

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is taking up a challenge by industry groups and Republican-led states that want to roll back Obama administration environmental rules aimed at reducing power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants.

Those airborne substances contribute to respiratory illnesses, birth defects and developmental problems in children.

The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday over the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to take action against coal- and oil-fired power plants that are responsible for half the nation's output of mercury. The EPA's rules on emissions of mercury, acid gases and other toxic substances are supposed to take full effect next year.

The dispute turns on whether EPA must consider costs, or only assess health risks, in deciding whether hazardous air pollutants from power plants should be regulated.