Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,800+ case briefs...

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation v. EPA

United States Supreme Court
540 U.S. 461, 124 S.Ct. 983, 157 L.Ed.2d 967 (2004)


In order to expand its production of zinc concentrate in northern Alaska, Cominco, Inc., needed to increase its on-site electrical generating capacity at its Red Dog Mine (the Mine) facility. The expanded zinc production at the Mine would add more than 40 tons of nitrogen oxide per year to the air emissions at the site. The expansion plans triggered a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) requirement pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA). Under the PSD provision, no major air pollutant emitting facility may be constructed unless the facility is equipped with “the best available control technology” (BACT). The Mine submitted its expansion proposal to the state permitting authority, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) (plaintiff), for review and approval. ADEC determined that BACT for the Mine was selective catalytic reduction (SCR) which reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent and which was technologically, economically, and environmentally feasible for the Mine to implement. The Mine countered and offered to install new equipment which would reduce emissions only by 30 percent. The ADEC relented and issued a permit allowing construction of a facility to begin. The state agency also subsequently modified its position that SCR was economically infeasible for the Mine to implement. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (defendant) intervened and issued an order preventing the Mine from proceeding with construction of the facility. The ADEC petitioned the court of appeals to review the EPA order. The appellate court held EPA possessed the authority under the CAA to issue an order to halt construction of the facility. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 499,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 499,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial