Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks “Good Neighbor” Rule

Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks "Good Neighbor" Rule

( – The US Supreme Court has suspended the “good neighbor” rule until legal battles surrounding it are complete. Explaining the 5 – 4 ruling, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that challenges against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation were likely to succeed, but dissenting Justices, including Amy Coney Barrett, stated that pausing the rules on those grounds was based on “an underdeveloped theory.”

The “Good Neighbor” rule was established to restrict power plant emissions from affecting nearby states. Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia challenged the rule, saying it is expensive and ineffective. New York’s deputy solicitor general said that much of the pollution in a number of states is generated elsewhere. Under the rule, energy-generating states are obliged to create and submit plans on how they intend to minimize impacting their neighbors.

The EPA’s enforcement of the rule is now blocked, and the Supreme Court has sent the matter to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is hearing arguments from the EPA and its challengers. An EPA spokesperson said the agency looks forward to “defending the merits of this vital public health protection” in court.

Rich Nolan, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, argues, however, that the EPA is overstretching its powers. He was pleased by the Supreme Court’s decision and its recognition that the “reckless rule” harms industry and impedes the free market.

In a separate case last year, Utah similarly challenged the rule and successfully attempted to have it suspended inside the Beehive State. Governor Spencer Cox likewise argued that the EPA had acted beyond its powers and created a regulation that would “have dire consequences for energy security and reliability in Utah.”

After the Supreme Court decided to stay the rule in other states, Governor Cox stated that he was “thrilled” to see the Court step in and prevent the continuation of “bad policy.”

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said he is disappointed by the latest developments but confident that his agency will prevail.

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