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Opinion
Cass R. Sunstein

The Sense and Nonsense in the EPA’s Mercury Rule

How the Trump administration’s defensible policy turned into something arbitrary. 

It’s complicated.

It’s complicated.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Whenever the Trump administration proposes to eliminate a regulation, many people are tempted to give it a standing ovation. Many others are tempted to boo and hiss. Sometimes it’s right to do one or the other. But with respect to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to rethink its controversial mercury regulation — well, it’s complicated and unusually interesting.

The story begins in 2012, when the EPA finalized that regulation under President Barack Obama.  The EPA’s analysis proceeded in two stages.