As largely expected, the Roberts Court has obliterated the EPA's authority over power plant emissions, saying that even the Trump Regime's industry-friendly measures went too far, let alone the old Obama power plant regs that were nuked in 2016.
The Supreme Court on Thursday sharply cut back the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to reduce the carbon output of existing power plants, a blow to the nation’s chances of averting catastrophic climate change.
The vote was 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the court’s conservatives.
“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’ ” Roberts wrote, referring to a court precedent. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme.”
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the dissenters, countered: “The Court appoints itself — instead of Congress or the expert agency — the decisionmaker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening.”
The decision risks putting the United States even further off track from President Biden’s goal of running the U.S. power grid on clean energy by 2035 — and making the entire economy carbon-neutral by 2050.
With higher seas, fiercer wildfires and other consequences of climate change apparent, the world is already in unprecedented territory. Biden hoped to lead by example to convince other countries to cut emissions and help the world keep warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
Now such diplomacy has become more difficult for Biden, especially as countries scramble for new sources of oil and gas after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement, White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan called Thursday’s ruling “another devastating decision from the court that aims to take our country backwards.” Biden, he added, “will not relent in using the authorities that he has under law to protect public health and tackle the climate change crisis.”
“Our lawyers will study the ruling carefully and we will find ways to move forward under federal law,” Hasan said. “At the same time, Congress must also act to accelerate America’s path to a clean, healthy, secure energy future.”
The court was considering the powers granted by the Clean Air Act, which was written decades ago, before climate change was widely recognized as a worldwide crisis.
Environmentalists were alarmed by the court’s decision.
Richard Lazarus, a Harvard environmental law professor, said that by insisting that an agency “can promulgate an important and significant climate rule only by showing ‘clear congressional authorization’ at a time when the Court knows that Congress is effectively dysfunctional, the Court threatens to upend the national government’s ability to safeguard the public health and welfare at the very moment when the United States, and all nations, are facing our greatest environmental challenge of all: climate change.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised the ruling.
“The Court has undone illegal regulations issued by the EPA without any clear congressional authorization and confirmed that only the people’s representatives in Congress — not unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats — may write our nation’s laws,” McConnell said in a statement.
The United States is the world’s second-biggest annual emitter of greenhouse gases, and is responsible for a greater portion of historical emissions than any other nation.