Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation v. EPA, 540 U.S. 461, 19 (2004)

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Cite as: 540 U. S. 461 (2004)

Opinion of the Court

ADEC conceded that, lacking data from Cominco, it had made "no judgment . . . as to the impact of . . . [SCR] on the operation, profitability, and competitiveness of the Red Dog Mine." Id., at 116. Contradicting its May 1999 conclusion that SCR was "technically and economically feasible," see supra, at 476, ADEC found in September 1999 that SCR imposed "a disproportionate cost" on the mine. App. 116. ADEC concluded, on a "cursory review," that requiring SCR for a rural Alaska utility would lead to a 20% price increase, and that in comparison with other BACT technologies, SCR came at a "significantly higher" cost. Ibid. No economic basis for a comparison between the mine and a rural utility appeared in ADEC's technical analysis.

EPA protested the revised permit. In a September 15, 1999, letter, the Agency stated: "Cominco has not adequately demonstrated any site-specific factors to support their claim that the installation of [SCR] is economically infeasible at the Red Dog Mine. Therefore, elimination of SCR as BACT based on cost-effectiveness grounds is not supported by the record and is clearly erroneous." Id., at 127; see id., at 138 (ADEC's record does not support the departure from ADEC's initial view that the costs for SCR were economically feasible).

To justify the September 1, 1999, permit, EPA suggested, ADEC could "include an analysis of whether requiring Cominco to install and operate [SCR] would have any adverse economic impacts upon Cominco specifically." Id., at 127. Stating that such an inquiry was unnecessary and expressing "concerns related to confidentiality," Cominco declined to submit financial data. Id., at 134. In this regard, Cominco simply asserted, without detail, that the company's "overall debt remains quite high" despite continuing profits. Id., at

units." Id., at 149. EPA found no cause to question this ADEC-Cominco agreement. Ibid.


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