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Supreme Court upholds sedative used in Missouri executions, questions air quality rules

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the use of midazolam as part of the execution protocol in Oklahoma. The same drug had been used — and challenged — in Missouri.  In the execution of Richard Strong earlier this month, midazolam was used as a sedative before pentobarbital was used to carry out the execution.

Writing for a 5-4 majority, Justice Samuel Alito said, "While most humans wish to die a painless death, many do not have that good fortune. Holding that the 8th Amendment demands the elimination of essentially all risk of pain would effectively outlaw the death penalty altogether."


In another ruling that will have implications in Missouri, as well as Illinois, the court held that the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality standards were invalid because the agency did not take the cost of complying with the regulations into account.

At issues are regulations issued in 2011 designed to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxins from power-company smokestacks. What this means for individual power companies will vary as the rule was to be fully complied with by next year, so many companies have already made changes.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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