Court upholds costly EPA power plant rules

Federal judges ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency's costly pollutant rules for coal-fired power plants on Tuesday.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA can keep its rules but must go back to address the cost of complying with them. Most of the utility industry is already in compliance with the standards, which cost the industry more than $9 billion each year.

The appeals court held oral argument two weeks ago on a ruling from the Supreme Court that said the EPA cannot ignore the cost of its utility rules. The agency argues that under previous Supreme Court rulings it has the discretion not to calculate the cost of complying with its rules.

The high court set a precedent in ruling against EPA discretion when it comes to cost. That ruling is likely to come up in oral arguments next year when the appeals court takes up a lawsuit by 27 states opposing EPA climate rules for power plants.