Press Release

Press Release: U.S. Supreme Court Today Dismisses Federal Mercury Standards Challenge

June 13, 2016

Contact: Judith Nemes (312) 795-3706 [email protected]

U.S. Supreme Court Today Dismisses Federal Mercury Standards Challenge
Time for Michigan AG Bill Schuette, Others to Exit Lawsuit

Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari filed by a group of states led by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to void implementation of the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS), which will reduce mercury pollution and better protect children’s health and the Great Lakes.

The effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s order today is that implementation of the federal mercury standards go forward while Michigan’s and the other state’s challenges of other aspects of the regulation continues before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“The Environmental Law & Policy Center is pleased that the Supreme Court denied Michigan and some other states’ appeal, and that the mercury pollution reduction standards will finally go forward to protect children’s health and safe water,” said Howard Learner, ELPC’s Executive Director.

“Mercury is a known neurotoxin that impairs children’s brain development and harms maternal health. It’s time for all coal plants to install widely-available modern pollution control technologies to reduce mercury emissions that contaminate our Great Lakes, inland lakes and rivers. It’s time for Michigan Attorney General Schuette to bring his ideological litigation to an end and, instead, work hard to protect children’s health and safe drinking water supplies in Michigan. The lessons learned from the Flint water contamination highlight the importance of safe drinking water supplies in Michigan and the Midwest for all.”

Attorney General Bill Schuette has led the national lawsuit opposing implementation of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Last Thursday, more than 50 Michigan scientists signed a letter urging Michigan AG Schuette to drop his opposition to MATS.

The scientists worked with ELPC in calling attention to Michigan AG Schuette’s persistence in standing in the way of federal standards intended to make air and water cleaner and improve the safety of eating certain fish. This past weekend was a free fishing weekend in Michigan, where many more anglers throughout the state were expected to cast their fishing poles in a nearby waterway without a required license to fish and possibly bring some home for dinner. Michigan’s most dangerous fish to eat because of mercury bioaccumulation include bass, walleye and northern pike. That can and should change going forward.