Environmental quality is important, but it is just one set of the objectives of public policyIs it possible to think about the incentives set by environmental regulatory decisions and the outcomes they induce as part of a more integrated policy?

Perhaps not.

Consider Michigan v. EPA, No. 14-46 (U.S. Nov. 25, 2014).  Last month, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether EPA properly refused to consider cost in promulgating the “Utility MACT” regulation for fossil fuel-fired electricity generating units.  Why only cost?  Why not test whether a regulation expected to hasten the closure of older coal-fired power plants is consistent with overall public policy, or whether issues of redistributive justice or economic development counsel in favor of preserving those older units?

Or what about the effort to read the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Robinson Township decision to elevate environmental objectives over any others?