July 6, 2022

Supreme Court Hears Case That Could Derail Biden’s Climate Policy


Tsvetana Paraskova

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case on Monday brought by Republican states and coal companies over how much authority the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has to order emissions reductions at power plants.

The case could be a significant hurdle to future climate policies of the Biden Administration and could set a precedent on whether federal agencies have the authority to impose carbon dioxide limits on power plants.

The conservative-majority Supreme Court will hear arguments today over whether the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal- and natural gas-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act.

Republican states led by West Virginia and coal industry groups are challenging a federal court ruling from last year that said the EPA had the authority to issue such regulations.  

“We don’t think that the EPA has the unilateral capability to decarbonize our country,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey told Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo on Monday, commenting on the case at the Supreme Court.

“We know that there is only a limited amount of authority that the EPA possesses with respect to these carbon emissions…This is the great opportunity to rein in federal overreach,” AG Morrisey said.

“Major policy choices affecting the national economy should not be made by unelected agency officials,” according to a legal brief filed by North American Coal Corporation, cited by NBC News.

Of those supporting the Administration’s approach, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said, commenting on the case that pro-coal interests want the Supreme Court “to hand them a license to pollute.”

Opponents of the Biden Administration are advancing “horror stories about extreme regulations the EPA may issue in the future. The EPA is writing a new rule on a clean slate,” David Doniger, a climate change expert with the NRDC, told the Associated Press.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide on the matter by the end of June.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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