The Supreme Court will hear a case on EPA’s power to limit carbon emissions

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider complaints from Republican-led states and coal mines demanding that it limit the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

“This is equivalent to an earthquake across the country for those who care very much about the climate issue,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard.

The court’s ruling on the case came a few days before President Biden is scheduled to attend a global climate summit in Scotland, where he is trying to reassure other nations that the United States will continue to pursue an aggressive policy to combat global warming.

In January, on the last full day of the presidency of Donald J. Trump, the Federal Court of Appeal in Washington hit down its administration’s plan to ease restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. This move paved the way for Biden to issue stronger restrictions.

The divided three-judge panel, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, ruled that the Trump administration’s plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, is based on a “fundamental misconstruction” of the relevant law that was triggered. with a “tortured series of misreadings”.

The committee did not reintroduce the 2015 Obama-era regulation, a clean energy plan that would force companies to move away from coal and to renewable energy sources to reduce emissions. However, she rejected an attempt by the Trump administration to repeal that rule and replace it with what critics said was toothless.

The Obama-era plan aimed to reduce energy emissions by 32 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. To that end, it instructed each country to draw up plans to eliminate carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and increase production renewable energy.

The measure never entered into force. I was blocked by the Supreme Court in 2016, which in fact ruled that states should not comply with it until a series of lawsuits by conservative states and the coal industry have been resolved. This ruling, followed by changes in the Supreme Court’s membership that shifted it to the right, has led environmental groups to be cautious about what the court could do in climate change cases.

Shortly after Mr. Trump’s election, his EPA repealed the clean energy plan.

Professor Lazarus said the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case threatened to “severely reduce, if not eliminate, the new administration’s ability to use the clean air law to significantly limit greenhouse gas emissions from national power plants.”

Industry support groups welcomed the court’s decision to approve the audit.

“The Supreme Court will re-examine the EPA’s mass claims under the power to transform entire industries, rather than requiring only improved technology,” said Devin Watkins, a lawyer with the Institute for Competitive Entrepreneurship, the brain’s free market center that opposes most environmental regulations. “That’s great news because the agency doesn’t have that much power under the law.”

The Biden administration had urged the judges not to hear the case, which says the court should wait for the administration to issue its regulations, “after taking into account all the important considerations, including changes in the electricity sector, that have taken place in the last few years.”

States and businesses, on the other hand, the administration wrote, “are urging this court to now approve a review to help guide the forthcoming regulation, but this is little more than a request for an inadmissible advisory opinion.”

Report filed by West Virginia and more than a dozen other states have called on judges to act now.

“How we respond to climate change is a burning issue for our nation, but some of the ways forward bring serious and disproportionate costs to countries and countless other affected parties,” the minutes said. “Further uncertainty about the scope of EPA’s powers will result in costs that we will never be able to recoup because EPA, the state and others will be forced to immerse even more years and funds into a company that is – at best – legally uncertain. The court should intervene now. “

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