SCOTUS to examine EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it plans to review just how much authority the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has when it comes to regulating the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from power plants, according to The Hill.

The outlet noted that the decision relates to a controversy that arose when a court halted efforts by the Trump administration to negate power plant rules enacted during the Obama years known as the 2015 Clean Power Plan.

That set of regulations promulgated state-level guidelines designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power generating plants, and the Trump-era decision to repeal those rules – as well as the Affordable Clean Energy Rule put in their place – were both vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as SCOTUS Blog explained.

The high court is now poised to examine whether the scope of the EPA’s power over such pollution sources should be limited, taking a particular look at the question of if the agency has the ability to make rules applicable to broad classes of gas emitters and use “industry-wide systems” to do it.

As The Hill noted, the justices will take a close look at whether this singular agency ought to have the ability to decide matters of “vast economic and political significance” such as how the nation’s energy system might be restructured, and whether it even should be.

The legal challenge launched by coal companies and energy-producing jurisdictions argue that the EPA has been exceeding its proper, congressionally-authorized powers in the way it was attempting to limit carbon emissions, as NBC News noted.

In the opinion of the energy producing entities, “power to regulate factories, hospitals, hotels, and even homes would have tremendous costs and consequences for all Americans,” and the EPA must not be given carte blanche to do so.

Not surprisingly, far-left environmental activists have made their position on the matter clear, stating that if the high court finds in favor of the coal companies, climate change would almost surely be exacerbated.

With a decision anticipated to be handed down by next summer, the justices’ ruling in the matter could have a far-reaching impact in that it may set new restrictions on the ability of Congress to delegate matters of such sweeping importance to any regulatory agency, not just the EPA.