A Ballard Spahr environmental litigation team led by Brendan K. Collins and Robert B. McKinstry, Jr., scored a decisive victory for their energy clients when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a regulation that limits emissions of mercury and other hazardous toxins from coal-fired power plants. Ballard Spahr represented Calpine Corporation, Exelon Corporation, National Grid Generation LLC, and Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) in 2012. Coal- and oil-fired power plant owners, labor groups, and some states challenged it, claiming that the regulation was too burdensome. Environmental groups, other states, and energy companies represented by Ballard Spahr intervened on behalf of the EPA to defend the standards. On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected every challenge to the rule.

“This ruling is a victory for our clients and for the environment. We were honored to have played a role in it,” said Mr. Collins. “It will bring about a significant improvement in air quality and level the playing field for energy companies nationwide by holding them to the same environmental standards.”

Under the ruling, many of the country’s largest power plants will have to comply with the MATS beginning in April 2015. EPA predicts that compliance with the new regulation will reduce respiratory problems caused by acid gas, cases of cancer tied to metal pollutants, and neurological issues, such as fetal brain damage, associated with mercury.

Ballard Spahr’s Environment and Natural Resources Group stands at the forefront of energy-related environmental, climate change, and sustainability issues. Its attorneys advise clients on national and regional compliance and represent them in litigation and during investigations and transactions.

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