Michigan v. Envtl. Prot. Agency

Decision Date29 June 2015
Docket Number14–49.,Nos. 14–46,14–47,s. 14–46
Citation192 L.Ed.2d 674,135 S.Ct. 2699,576 U.S. 743
Parties MICHIGAN, et al., Petitioners v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, et al. Utility Air Regulatory Group, Petitioner v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al. National Mining Association, Petitioner v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al.
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Aaron D. Lindstrom, Solicitor General, for State Petitioners.

F. William Brownell, for Industry Petitioners and Respondents in support.

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Solicitor General, for the Federal Respondents.

Paul M. Smith, Washington, DC, for Industry Respondents.

Carroll W. McGuffey III, Justin T. Wong, Troutman Sanders LLP, Atlanta, GA, Peter S. Glaser, Counsel of Record, Troutman Sanders LLP, Washington, DC, for Petitioner National Mining Association.

F. William Brownell, Counsel of Record, Henry V. Nickel, Lee B. Zeugin, Elizabeth L. Horner, Hunton & Williams LLP, Washington, DC, for Petitioner.

Leslie Sue Ritts, Ritts Law Group, PLLC, Alexandria, VA, for Petitioner American Public Power Association.

Bart E. Cassidy, Katherine L. Vaccaro, Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP, Bala Cynwyd, PA, for Petitioner ARIPPA.

Michael Nasi, Jackson Walker LLP, Austin, TX, for Petitioner Gulf Coast Lignite Coalition.

Dennis Lane, Stinson Leonard Street LLP, Washington, DC, Parthenia B. Evans, Stinson Leonard Street LLP, Kansas City, MO, for Petitioner Kansas City Board of Public Utilities.

Eric Groten, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Austin, TX, for Petitioner White Stallion Energy Center, LLC.

Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, Melissa Hoffer, Tracy L. Triplett, Assistant Attorneys General, Environmental Protection Division, Boston, MA, Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of California, Oakland, CA, George Jepsen, Attorney General of Connecticut, Hartford, CT, Matthew P. Denn, Attorney General of Delaware, Wilmington, DE, Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of Illinois, Chicago, IL, Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General of Iowa, Des Moines, IA, Janet T. Mills, Attorney General of Maine, Augusta, ME, Brian E. Frosh, Attorney General of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, Lori Swanson, Attorney General of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, Joseph A. Foster, Attorney General of New Hampshire, Concord, NH, Hector Balderas, Attorney General of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM, Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General of New York, Albany, NY, Roy Cooper, Attorney General of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General of Oregon, Salem, OR, Peter F. Kilmartin, Attorney General of Rhode Island, Providence, RI, William H. Sorrell, Attorney General of Vermont, Montpelier, VT, Karl A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, George A. Nilson, City Solicitor for the City of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, Stephen R. Patton, Corporation Counsel of the City of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Michael A. Siragusa, County Attorney for the County of Erie, Buffalo, NY, Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, New York, NY, for Respondents.

Neil D. Gordon, Assistant Attorney General, Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Division, Bill Schuette, Michigan Attorney General, Aaron D. Lindstrom, Solicitor General, Counsel of Record, Lansing, MI, for Petitioners.

Luther Strange, Attorney General, State of Alabama, Office of the Attorney General, Montgomery, AL, for Petitioner State of Alabama.

Michael C. Geraghty, Attorney General, Steven E. Mulder, Assistant Attorney General, Anchorage, AK, for Petitioner State of Alaska.

Mark Brnovich, Attorney General, James T. Skardon, Assistant Attorney General, Environmental Enforcement Section, Phoenix, AZ, Counsel for Petitioner State of Arizona.

Leslie Rutledge, Attorney General, Attorney General, Little Rock, AR, for Petitioner State of Arkansas, ex rel. Dustin McDaniel, Attorney General.

Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, ID, for Petitioner State of Idaho,

Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General, Valerie Tachtiris, Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, for Petitioner State of Indiana.

Michael Bousselot, Des Moines, for Petitioner Terry E. Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa on behalf of the People of Iowa.

Derek Schmidt, Attorney General, Jeffrey A. Chanay, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General of Kansas, Topeka, KS, for Petitioner State of Kansas.

Jack Conway, Attorney General, Frankfort, KY, for Petitioner Jack Conway.

Jim Hood, Attorney General, Harold E. Pizzetta III, Assistant Attorney General, Director, Civil Litigation Division, Jackson, MS, for Petitioner State of Mississippi.

Chris Koster, Attorney General, James R. Layton, Jefferson City, MO, for Petitioner State of Missouri.

Doug Peterson, Attorney General, Dave Bydalek, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Blake Johnson, Assistant Attorney General, Lincoln, NE, for Petitioner State of Nebraska.

Wayne Stenehjem, Attorney General, Margaret I. Olson, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Attorney General, Bismarck, ND, for Petitioner State of North Dakota.

Michael DeWine, Attorney General, Columbus, OH, for Petitioner State of Ohio.

E. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General, Patrick Wyrick, Solicitor General, P. Clayton Eubanks, Deputy Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK, for Petitioner State of Oklahoma.

Alan Wilson, Attorney General, Robert D. Cook, Solicitor General, James Emory Smith, Jr., Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Columbia, SC, for Petitioner State of South Carolina.

Ken Paxton, Attorney General, Charles E. Roy, First Assistant Attorney General, James E. Davis, Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation, Jon Niermann, Chief, Environmental Protection Division, Mark Walters, Assistant Attorney General, Mary E. Smith, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General of Texas, Environmental Protection Division, Austin, TX, for Petitioners State of Texas, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Public Utility Commission, and Railroad Commission of Texas, Sean D. Reyes Attorney General, Salt Lake City, UT, for Petitioner State of Utah.

Patrick Morrisey, Attorney General, Charleston, WV, for Petitioner State of West Virginia,

Peter K. Michael, Attorney General, Michael J. McGrady, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Cheyenne, WY, for Petitioner State of Wyoming.

Brendan K. Collins, Counsel of Record, Robert B. McKinstry, Jr., Ronald M. Varnum, Lorene L. Boudreau, Ballard Spahr LLP, Philadelphia, PA, Paul M. Smith, Matthew E. Price, Erica L. Ross, Jenner & Block LLP, Washington, DC, for Industry Respondents.

Sanjay Narayan, Sierra Club, San Francisco, CA, for Respondent Sierra Club.

James S. Pew, Neil E. Gormley, Earthjustice, Washington, D.C., for Respondent Chesapeake, Bay Foundation Clean Air Council, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sierra Club, and Waterkeeper Alliance,

Sean H. Donahue, Counsel of Record, David T. Goldberg, Donahue & Goldberg, LLP, Washington, D.C., Vickie L. Patton, Graham McCahan, Tomás Carbonell, Environmental Defense Fund, Boulder, CO, for Respondent Environmental Defense Fund.

John Suttles, Southern Environmental Law Center, Chapel Hill, NC, for Respondent American Academy of Pediatrics, American Lung Association, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Ann Brewster Weeks, Darin T. Schroeder, Clean Air Task Force, Boston, MA, for Respondent Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment America, Izaak Walton League of America, Natura, Resources Council of Maine, and Ohio Environmental Council.

John D. Walke, Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C., for Respondent Natural Resource Defense Council.

Justice SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Clean Air Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants from power plants if the Agency finds regulation "appropriate and necessary." We must decide whether it was reasonable for EPA to refuse to consider cost when making this finding.


The Clean Air Act establishes a series of regulatory programs to control air pollution from stationary sources (such as refineries and factories) and moving sources (such as cars and airplanes). 69 Stat. 322, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7401 – 7671q. One of these is the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Program—the hazardous-air-pollutants program, for short. Established in its current form by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, 104 Stat. 2531, this program targets for regulation stationary-source emissions of more than 180 specified "hazardous air pollutants." § 7412(b).

For stationary sources in general, the applicability of the program depends in part on how much pollution the source emits. A source that emits more than 10 tons of a single pollutant or more than 25 tons of a combination of pollutants per year is called a major source. § 7412(a)(1). EPA is required to regulate all major sources under the program.

§ 7412(c)(1)-(2). A source whose emissions do not cross the just-mentioned thresholds is called an area source. § 7412(a)(2). The Agency is required to regulate an area source under the program if it "presents a threat of adverse effects to human health or the environment ... warranting regulation." § 7412(c)(3).

At the same time, Congress established a unique procedure to determine the applicability of the program to fossil-fuel-fired power plants. The Act refers to these plants as electric utility steam generating units, but we will simply call them power plants. Quite apart from the hazardous-air-pollutants program, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 subjected power plants to various regulatory requirements. The parties agree that these requirements were expected to have the collateral effect of reducing power plants' emissions of hazardous air pollutants, although the extent of the reduction was unclear....

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