Mercury emissions decision pleases Milgram

John O'Brien Feb. 23, 2009, 4:00pm


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the appeal of a group of utilities upset with mercury emissions regulations pleased New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram.

The Utility Air Regulatory Group wanted a reversal of a decision that sided with a group of 17 states and vacated the Federal Government's cap-and-trade approach to regulating mercury emissions from power plants.

"Today's denial by the U.S. Supreme Court represents another victory for the people of New Jersey and our environment," Milgram said. "As of today, the protracted legal battle that has delayed proper regulation of mercury emissions from power plants is over, and the practice of allowing those plants to spew harmful quantities of a dangerous neurotoxin into our air in violation of federal law is at an end."

The Federal Government was not appealing the decision. The states sued the Environmental Protection Agency in 2006 for failing to impose stricter limits on mercury emissions.

The cap-and-trade system allowed plants to buy pollution credits from other plants which had emissions levels under the limit.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided with the states in Feb. 2008. The states said the cap-and-trade system resulted in hot spots for mercury pollution.

The EPA originally appealed the decision but dropped it under new EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

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