Supreme Court crimps Biden’s climate agenda with EPA restrictions

U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday

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The deeply divided U.S. Supreme Court has hit President Joe Biden’s global warming agenda hard, limiting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to curb power plant emissions, and Congress giving more power to the Environmental Protection Agency. He said he had to act.

A 6-3 decision interpreting the US Clean Air Act would prevent the government from imposing a widespread emission reduction plan of the type that the EPA tried to implement when Barack Obama was president. It limits the tools available to government agencies, as there is increasing evidence that climate change is causing sea level rise and more extreme weather patterns. The ruling has a wide range of implications and can affect other regulatory agencies.

The majority said the EPA could regulate power plant emissions, but could not shift power plants from fossil fuel power plants to cleaner power plants, as Obama’s clean power plan aimed. .. Judge John Roberts, who wrote for the court, said Congress needed to speak more clearly to give government agencies that much power.

“Determining such size and outcome depends on the parliament itself, or an agency that acts according to a clear delegation from its representative body,” Roberts wrote.

Three judges appointed to the court’s Democratic Party (Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) have blown up the ruling.

“The court appoints climate policy decision makers on behalf of parliament and academic institutions,” Kagan wrote for three opponents. “I can’t think of anything more scary.”

The ruling raises new questions about Biden’s pledge to cut US emissions in half by the end of 2010 and his goal to aim for a carbon-free power grid by 2035. According to some analyzes, power plants, and tax incentives designed to promote clean energy.

In a statement, Biden said the ruling was “another catastrophic decision aimed at retreating our country” and “the risk of damaging our ability to keep our air clean and fight climate change.” Said there is.

He pledged to work with the EPA and other affected agencies to review their views, continue to legally protect people from pollution, and find ways to tackle the climate crisis. He also said the administration would work with states and cities to drive parliamentary action.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling does not mean the end of President Biden’s climate agenda, but the government still needs to quickly evaluate the regulatory measures that can be advanced and those that must be reconsidered or abandoned.” Formerly a senior official in the EPA’s Legal Advisory Office.

Important doctrine

“Parliament intends to make major policy decisions on its own and not to leave those decisions to the institution,” Roberts said, pointing out the doctrine of the so-called major question.

Court reasoning could spur challenges to other federal regulations, from EPA’s vehicle emission controls to mandated vaccines from disease management centers, especially when congressional approval issues are involved. ..

“The big thing this case reveals is that there is a doctrine of this key question that government agencies have to address,” said Tom Morenzen of Crowell & Moring, a former assistant chief of the Department of Justice’s Environment Department. .. “Opposites of federal regulations can be expected to file in proceedings against many EPAs and other regulations, including vehicle emissions.”

Under the Clean Power Plan, the state was encouraged to shift power generation from higher-emission sources such as coal to lower-emission options such as renewable energy. The Clean Power Plan didn’t come into effect, and when Donald Trump took office, the EPA withdrew the rules and took a narrower approach.

The Supreme Court proceedings arose from a series of legal oppositions to Trump’s rules. The Federal Court of Appeals in Washington said the Trump project was based on an overly restricted reading of the EPA’s authority.

As a result, proponents of the Trump Rule (companies, including Westmoreland Mining Holdings, and 19 Republican-led states led by West Virginia) have turned to the US Supreme Court. Their appeal stated that a lower court ruling would go far beyond what Congress intended when the EPA rebuilt the US electrical system and enacted the Clean Air Act in 1970.

The Biden administration said the wording of the Clean Air Act does not preclude efforts to shift power generation to cleaner sources. The White House has gained support from a variety of industries, including technology companies, power companies, and environmental groups.

The incident revolved around the Clean Air Act provisions requiring the state to identify the “best system of emission reductions” for existing sources of pollution and then develop an implementation plan.

The case is West Virginia vs. EPA, 20-1530. North American Coal Co. v. EPA, 20-1531; Westmoreland Mining Holdings v. EPA, 20-1778; and Nosdakota vs. EPA, 20-1780.

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