Paul Gutermann Quoted in Law360 on Future of EPA’s MATS Rule

Akin Gump environment and natural resources partner Paul Gutermann was quoted in the Law360 story “EPA’s Mercury Rule Cost Analysis Tees Up New Battles” a follow-up to last week’s release by the EPA of its final cost analysis for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule. The analysis was prepared to comply with last year’s Supreme Court ruling that found the EPA was wrong to have claimed it had no duty to consider costs under the provision of the Clean Air Act that served as the basis of the MATS rule.

In its most recent finding, according to the article, the EPA asserted that the benefits of the rule outweigh any costs to the industry. Gutermann said, regardless of how the cost-benefit analysis issue plays out in the MATS context, it poses an interesting question in other areas, such as the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s key climate change initiative that would curb carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, which has been stayed by the Supreme Court pending review in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“To the extent that EPA is relying on the same or similar provisions of the Clean Air Act, whoever prevails [on the MATS cost analysis] will certainly argue that whatever the Supreme Court ultimately rules is the definitive interpretation of EPA’s authorities,” Gutermann said. “Until all this gets shaken out, there’s going to be a significant level of uncertainty as to the scope of EPA’s authority in this area.”