The Supreme Court is blocking the EPA’s ability to combat climate change

In addition, the court reduced the agency’s power, commonly known as the “big questions” principle – which would affect the federal government’s power to regulate other areas of climate policy, as well as the Internet and worker controls. Security.

The results, released on Thursday, will send shockwaves across the federal government, threatening agency action that would come without clear congressional approval.

Judgment was given as 6-3. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the Conservative majority, while the three Liberal judges disagreed. According to Roberts, the law “doubts the claim of our forerunner EPA” that it “authorizes the creation of carbon emissions limits based on a generational change approach.”

“Under our precedents, this is a big question case,” Roberts wrote.

Steve Vladek, a CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor of law at the University of Texas, said the ruling “would be disastrous for modern administrative law.”

“For over a century, the federal government has been acting on the assumption that Congress can extend regulatory powers to the executive branch. Today’s ruling opens the door to endless challenges for those representatives – from climate change to food safety standards.” Congress is not specific enough, “said Vladich.

Regarding the EPA, Roberts wrote that controlling carbon dioxide emissions to the point where it would force a nationwide shift from coal use could be a “smarter” solution.

“But it is not credible that Congress has given the EPA the power to adopt such a regulatory plan on its own.”

“The outcome of such scales and consequences rests with Congress, or an agency acting on the clear delegation of that representative body,” he wrote.

Writing separately, Judge Neil Korsch stressed the court’s move to limit the agency’s authority, saying it was not the public’s responsibility.

“While we all acknowledge that governing bodies play an important role in the modern nation, none of us want to abandon our republic’s promise that the people and their representatives should have a meaningful view of the laws governing them,” Korsch wrote.

Judge Elena Kagan, writing for the protesters, sounded the alarm on global warming, saying the court ruling “restricts” the EPA’s power to empower Congress to respond to “the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.”

“The court itself – instead of Congress or the expert body – appoints the decision maker on climate policy,” he wrote.

“I can not think of anything more frightening than this,” she concluded.

Congress action is not possible

This view calls into question the future of federal-level climate action in the United States and puts further pressure on Congress to reduce planetary warming emissions.

But broad action by Congress is not possible. Democrats in Congress are engaged in tough negotiations on the climate and clean energy bill. Sen. from West Virginia. Joe Munch’s’ main responsibility for many months has not been clear.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Without large investments in both clean energy and strong controls to reduce emissions through the EPA, President Joe Biden is far less confident of achieving his climate goal, an independent analysis shows.

Vladich said the lack of morale in Congress would lead to the disintegration of federal power.

“It’s one thing if Congress is expected to respond to this ruling, by updating them by making all of those delegates more specific, but we – and the court – know that it will not happen.

Climate impacts of power plants

Fossil fuels in the power sector are a major contributor to the climate crisis. According to the EPA, about 25% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and in the United States come from generating electricity. And coal, a fossil fuel, accounts for 20% of US electricity. For the first time since 2014, emissions from power generation increased last year, which was mainly driven by coal use.

The rise in the use of fossil fuels is not just for Biden’s climate goals – the president promised to halve U.S. emissions by 2030 in his first months in office – but also the planet. Scientists are increasingly urging the world to not only reduce emissions moving forward, but also to find ways to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere over the past several decades, as the climate crisis progresses.

In a major report last year, scientists said the planet was warming faster than they had previously thought. As it is, the extreme weather will become more deadly; Water crises develop and worsen; Food shortages increase and the disease spreads. To avoid adverse effects, the world needs to control global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (already over 1.1 degrees Celsius), and the only way to do that is to store most of the earth’s fossil fuels.

Purpose of clean air frame

At the heart of the case was a section of the Clean Air Act on the EPA’s ability to regulate power plants.

The Obama administration interpreted this rule at length in a way that justifies the rules on a statewide basis. The Trump administration, however, said the EPA’s powers were too narrow and could only target needs aimed at making individual power plants more efficient.

The DC circuit emptied the Trump administration in 2021, relying on the “fundamental flawed structure” of the law. The Biden administration is currently developing a new rule.

Court observers were surprised when the Supreme Court agreed to accept a challenge to a lower court opinion brought by Republican-led states in the absence of the current EPA rule on power plant emissions in the books.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisi was the main plaintiff in the case, and was joined by Republican Attorney Generals from a dozen other states. He was joined by lawyers representing two coal companies, the North American Coal Corporation and Westmoreland Mining Holdings, LLC.

Plaintiffs challenged the EPA’s authority to widely regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and demanded that this power be stripped from the company and handed over to Congress. They said a provision of the Clean Air Act did not give the agency such broad powers, and cited a legal principle known as the “Key Questions Doctrine” that challengers should have clear approval of such decisions with such major implications in Congress.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Freelog, on the other hand, argued that the petitioners’ case should be dismissed because there was no federal regulation for power plants in the books – both the Obama-era clean power program and the Trump era’s affordable cleanliness. The law of energy is dead. The EPA has not yet issued a new rule.

This story has been updated.

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