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Stating it Clearly: WV vs. EPA

Buying toothpaste these days is complicated. There's an overabundance of brands, flavors, features, etc. And all you're looking for is the toothpaste you need. Buying toothpaste can also be a lot like dealing with federal regulations: there are so many to consider, but all you're looking for are the regulations you need.

With the Supreme Court ruling from June 30th on WV vs. the EPA, there was a great deal of hullabaloo. Some said changing these regulations was the start of better things to come. Others said this is the beginning of the end of our country (really!). So what's the real story about the EPA and power plant regulations?

The biggest change is that the EPA can't require broad, sweeping, industry-wide policy changes without first getting the approval of Congress. And now, the authority for regulating power plants rests with the state governments. Mind you, the EPA still has other ways of regulating power plant emissions under the Clean Air Act; it's just not quite as powerful.

Meanwhile all state regulations remain the same as they have been. For now. In fact, some state regulations may change depending on the state you're in - because some states will, and have already - stepped up their requirements for reducing emissions as a result of this ruling.

Another key change with this ruling was that states will address power plant regulations on a plant-by-plant basis, not an industry-wide basis.

The central idea with this ruling is that the major environmental decision-making processes are now handled by elected officials, either in Congress, or at the state government. And think of it: if you need someone to hear you out, quite frankly it's easier to speak to your Governor or state representative, rather than someone at the EPA.

As a rule of thumb, fewer federal regulations keeps things simpler. And because power needs are fairly significant in a paper mill, even with a recovery boiler humming along, the ramifications for the SCOTUS ruling should help steady the waters a bit, and make it easier both staying in compliance and keeping that bottom line a bit more under control.


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