The US Supreme Court just gutted federal climate policy

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What was the sentence?

The decision states that the EPA’s actions in a 2015 rule, which included limits on power plant emissions, exceeded the agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“Limiting carbon dioxide emissions to 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,'” the decision says. but it is not plausible that Congress gave the EPA the authority to adopt this regulatory scheme on its own.

Only Congress has the power to make “a decision of such magnitude and consequences,” he continues.

That decision is likely to have “broad implications,” says Deborah Sivas, a professor of environmental law at Stanford University. Not only does the court limit what the EPA can do about climate policy in the future, he adds. This view “appears to be a major blow to the agency’s deference,” meaning that agencies beyond the EPA could face limitations in the future.

The sentence, which is the latest in a series of court bomb cases, fell largely on ideological lines. Chief Justice John Roberts was the author of the majority opinion, and was joined by Conservatives, including Judges Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas. Judges Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor disagreed.

What is the decision about?

The main question in the case was how much power the EPA should have to regulate carbon emissions and what should be allowed to be done to carry out this work. This question was raised by a 2015 EPA standard called the Clean Energy Plan.

The clean energy plan focused on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, requiring each state to make a plan to reduce emissions and submit it to the federal government.

Several states and private groups immediately challenged the clean energy plan when it was published, arguing it was an excess of the agency, and the Supreme Court suspended it in 2016. Following a repeal of the plan during the presidency of Donald Trump and some legal support. -and onwards, a Washington DC district court ruled in January 2021 that the clean energy plan did fall within EPA authority.

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