Supreme Court Overrules Biden EPA Climate Strategy

The 6-3 decision addressed the Obama-era Clean Air Act.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Supreme Court of the United States has reigned in the Biden administration’s climate change initiatives by limiting the power of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in a recent ruling.
  • The case before the high court involved an Obama-era EPA climate rule called the “Clean Air Act,” which was created to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 32% in the next eight years.
  • “Congress did not grant EPA in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Clean Power Plan,” Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.
  • “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 added. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme in Section 111(d). A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.”
  • The 6-3 decision on West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency limits the agency’s authority over powerplants and restricts the power sector.
  • Former President Donald Trump repealed the Clean Power Plan and created the Affordable Clean Energy Rule with lower restrictions and more power given to the states to control emissions standards.
  • “Unlike the Clean Power Plan, ACE adheres to the Clean Air Act and gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide a dependable, diverse supply of electricity that all Americans can afford,” former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement at the time.
TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL APPLAUDS THE DECISION:
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement after the ruling, celebrating the Supreme Court decision, saying that the Biden administration’s regulations would no longer be “unlimited.”
  • “With Biden in the White House, the radical left has re-captured the levers of environmental power and are forcing their green agenda on the nation. Today, we stopped him,” said AG Paxton. “And in pushing back against the EPA’s power grab, we protected not only the Rule of Law and the constitutional balance between the federal government and the states and between the branches of government, but we protected Americans’ pocketbooks as well. This is a great day for American energy production.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated a number of issues in this case in early 2021, the day before Biden’s inauguration.
  • The importance of the case led a coalition of 20 other Republican-led states and coal companies to file an appeal with the Supreme Court to change the lower court’s decision.