15.10.2015

Environmental protection at sustainable cost

The newsletter comments on a controversial decision of the US Supreme Court and compare it with some Italian case laws on the same topic. The main issue discussed is whether, when deciding on environmental policies, the economic impact of these policies has to be taken into account especially with regard to cost for industries.

In the commented judgment the Supreme Court found that EPA (the US Environmental Protection Agency) unreasonably deemed costs irrelevant in the decision to regulate emissions from power plants. In the Court’s opinion in fact the decision to regulate should have taken into account all the relevant factors, including economic costs.

A comparable approach is adopted in European countries. In fact EU legislation on industrial emissions establishes that emissions limits have to be set taking into account not only the technical but also the economical availability of technologies, considering costs and advantages. As the Italian Constitutional Court confirms, environmental protection cannot be pursued at expenses of other principles and interests relevant at the constitutional level.

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