Contenders for U.S. EPA Administrator

President-elect Donald Trump is scheduled to meet today with two possible contenders for U.S. EPA administrator who have called for rollbacks of some of the more contentious environmental rules.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R), who’s helping to lead the legal fight against the Obama administration’s climate rule, and former Texas environmental regulator Kathleen Hartnett White — who has called for restraining ” EPA” — are both scheduled to meet with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence in New York as they continue to announce picks for administration jobs.

Both Pruitt and Hartnett White have been rumored candidates for EPA leadership under Trump. He’s a lawyer who has climbed the political ranks in the Sooner State and recently said he’d consider running for governor in 2018. She’s a public policy expert who served as a Texas environmental regulator and as a special assistant in the White House for first lady Nancy Reagan.

They’d both be expected to reshape the agency by reducing or reshaping regulations.

Many other names have been floated for EPA administrator, including additional state officials and former George W. Bush administration EPA political appointees. Another state attorney general, Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, has been mentioned for the EPA job.

Trump’s other meetings scheduled for this week include sit-downs with rumored contenders for secretary of State retired Gen. David Petraeus, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). Trump will also meet tomorrow with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), according to the transition team.

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Supreme Court Curbs EPA’s Power To Regulate Emissions

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s  rule limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants, saying in a 5-4 ruling that it should have considered the rule’s billion-dollar compliance costs first.

The high court’s majority says the EPA “strayed far beyond the bounds” of the standard established in Chevron v. NRDC when it issued its landmark power plant regulation. (Credit: AP)

Although the majority did find that cost must be considered, it said it does not hold that the law unambiguously required the agency, when making this preliminary estimate, to conduct a formal cost-benefit analysis in which each advantage and disadvantage is assigned a monetary value. The opinion said it will be up to the agency to decide how to account for cost.

The EPA had argued that the hazardous-air pollutants program does not require it to consider cost when first deciding whether to regulate power plants because it can consider cost later when deciding how much to regulate them.

But, according to the opinion, “Cost may become relevant again at a later stage of the regulatory process, but that possibility does not establish its irrelevance at this stage.”

States and industry groups challenging the 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards claimed their $9.6 billion annual compliance costs far outweigh the benefits they will produce. The EPA argued that it had reasonably construed Section 112 of the Clean Air Act as directing it to consider compliance costs when establishing the appropriate level of any power plant regulation, but not when deciding whether to regulate those plants in the first place.

The cases are State of Michigan et al. v. EPA, case number 14-46, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, case number 14-47, and National Mining Association v. EPA, case number 14-49, in the Supreme Court of the United States.

By: Martin J. Milita, Jr. Esq., Sr. Director.

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