The US Supreme Court just gutted federal climate policy
What is a judgment?
The decision stated that the EPA’s actions in a 2015 rule, including limits on emissions from power plants, exceeded the agency’s authority.
The decision read: “Limiting carbon dioxide emissions to levels that would force a nationwide transition away from coal for power generation could be a ‘reasonable solution to the crisis of the day’. “But it is unreasonable for Congress to give the EPA the power to pass such a regulatory plan on its own.”
Only Congress has the power to make “decisions of such magnitude and consequence,” it continued.
This decision could have “broad implications”, say Deborah Sivas, a professor of environmental law at Stanford University. Not only does the court limit what the EPA can do with respect to future climate policy, she added; This opinion “seems to be a blow to the agency’s disdain,” meaning that other agencies could also face restrictions in the future.
The ruling, the latest in a series of bomb cases from the court, is mostly ideological. Chief Justice John Roberts was the author of the majority opinion, and he was joined by his fellow conservatives: Judges Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas. Judges Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor disagreed.
What are all decisions?
The key question in this case is how much power the EPA should have to regulate carbon emissions and what it should be allowed to do to get it done. That question was raised by a 2015 EPA rule called the Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan targets greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, requiring each state to develop a plan to cut emissions and submit it to the federal government.
Several states and private groups immediately opposed the Clean Power Plan when it was released, calling it an overkill on the part of the agency, and the Supreme Court suspended the plan in 2016. After repealing the plan during Donald Trump’s presidency and some legal back and forth, a district court in Washington, DC, ruled in January 2021 that the Clean Power Plan falls under the jurisdiction of the government. EPA.