Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

U.S. Supreme Court limits federal power to curb carbon emissions

Commodities Jun 30, 2022 08:47PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person walks past the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo 2/2

By Lawrence Hurley and Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday imposed limits on the federal government's authority to issue sweeping regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in a ruling that undermines President Joe Biden's plans to tackle climate change and could constrain various agencies on other issues.

The court's 6-3 ruling constrained the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired power plants under the landmark Clean Air Act anti-pollution law. Biden's administration is currently working on new regulations.

The court's six conservatives were in the majority in the decision authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, with the three liberals dissenting.

Biden called the ruling "another devastating decision that aims to take our country backwards."

"While this decision risks damaging our nation's ability to keep our air clean and combat climate change, I will not relent in using my lawful authorities to protect public health and tackle the climate crisis," Biden said in a statement https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/06/30/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-supreme-court-ruling-on-west-virginia-v-epa.

The Democratic president said he directed his legal team to work with the Justice Department and affected agencies to review the ruling and find ways under federal law to protect against pollution including emissions that cause climate change.

The ruling is likely to have implications beyond the EPA as it raises new legal questions about any big decisions made by federal agencies. The court's conservative majority has signaled skepticism toward expansive federal regulatory authority. Conservative legal activists have long advocated reducing agency power in what has been called a "war on the administrative state."

The justices overturned a 2021 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that had struck down Republican former President Donald Trump's Affordable Clean Energy rule. That regulation, which Biden's administration does not plan to retain, would impose limits on a Clean Air Act provision called Section 111 that provides the EPA authority to regulate emissions from existing power plants.

Trump's rule was meant to supplant Democratic former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan mandating major reductions in carbon emissions from the power industry. The Supreme Court in 2016 blocked implementation of Obama's plan, which used Section 111 to spur an electric-generation shift from coal to cleaner energy sources, without ruling on its lawfulness.

Amanda Shafer Berman of law firm Crowell & Moring, a senior environmental attorney in Obama's Justice Department, said the ruling was "about the best that EPA could have hoped for given the current composition of the court." Berman said the EPA can now proceed to issue a new rule that regulates power plant carbon dioxide emissions "albeit in a more limited way than envisioned" under Obama's plan.

Thursday's ruling was based on what is called the "major questions" legal doctrine that requires explicit congressional authorization for action on issues of broad importance and societal impact. The justices in January appeared to embrace that theory when it blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test policy for larger businesses, a key element of its plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court's invocation of this doctrine sends a signal that the justices will be a major obstacle to federal agencies seeking to implement broad policies of national importance.

The decision will constrain the EPA's ability to issue any regulations on power plants that push for an ambitious a national shift in energy policy toward renewable sources. As such, it will hamstring the administration's ability to curb the power sector's emissions, about a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gases.

'FEDERAL OVERREACH'

A group of Republican-led U.S. states led by major coal producer West Virginia asked the justices to limit the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Other challengers included coal companies and coal-friendly industry groups. Coal is among the most greenhouse gas-intensive fuels.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey called the ruling a "huge victory against federal overreach and the excesses of the administrative state."

Roberts wrote that while capping carbon emissions at a level that would force a nationwide energy transition might be sensible "it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme."

Writing in dissent, liberal Justice Elena Kagan noted that the court chose to hobble Biden's climate agenda before his administration even issued its rule.

"The limits the (court's) majority now puts on EPA's authority fly in the face of the statute Congress wrote," Kagan said, adding that the court "deprives EPA of the power needed - and the power granted - to curb the emission of greenhouse gases."

Kagan said the court has a clear goal: "Prevent agencies from doing important work, even though that is what Congress directed."

Democratic-led states and major power companies including Consolidated Edison Inc (NYSE:ED), Exelon Corp (NASDAQ:EXC) and PG&E (NYSE:PCG) Corp sided with Biden's administration, as did the Edison Electric Institute, an investor-owned utility trade group.

Biden's administration wants the U.S. power sector decarbonized by 2035. The United States, behind only China in greenhouse gas emissions, is a pivotal player in efforts to combat climate change on a global basis.

Thursday's decision came on the final day of rulings for the court's current nine-month term.

U.S. Supreme Court limits federal power to curb carbon emissions
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (12)
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Jun 30, 2022 9:38PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Fact of the matter is life flourishes under higher CO2 levels. And, it's well known that CO2 levels rise toward the tail end of earth's annual extinction cycle, and we're deep into one of those. High CO2 is essential for the proliferation of new flora and fauna. It always has been, because that's how it works!
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Jun 30, 2022 9:38PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
you don't know what you're talking about
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Jun 30, 2022 9:24PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
The fact of the matter, is between 97.5 & 99.5% of global warming is entirely natural and unstoppable. Man's activities accelerating it is between .5% to 2.5%. That's the range of human contribution proven in the aggregate of accepted studies. The truth is, in due time the natural cycle will reverse, and the north pole ice cap will once again bury Manhattan under a mile of ice.
Jose Cabreja
Jose Cabreja Jun 30, 2022 5:59PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
carbon emissions- biggest fraud ever.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 30, 2022 5:59PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Same goes for gravity!
First Last
First Last Jun 30, 2022 5:59PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
But Trump said the his election loss was the biggest fraud ever.  One, or both, of you are lying.
John Laurens
John Laurens Jun 30, 2022 4:45PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
It's like dems can't read much less comprehend the Constitution. It's seriously bizarre. Hmmm... maybe it's that they just want to ignore the Constitution. Could that be it?
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Jun 30, 2022 4:36PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
let's poison the planet and turn it into an uninhabitable desert
James Shipman
James Shipman Jun 30, 2022 3:15PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Finally the Supreme Court is doing something to reign in federal agencies.  It is about time.  Now these agencies can't just arbitrarily expand their powers based on some vague section in a law and congress will have to start doing their job to debate and establish laws.  Draining the swamp one bug infested cesspool at a time.
First Last
First Last Jun 30, 2022 3:15PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
When Trump diverted $ allocated to the military by Congress to spend on border wall sections that are rusting away now, ...  With Putin's aggression, the military can use that $.
john smith
john smith Jun 30, 2022 2:25PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
checks and balances: limiting federal government overreachGLORIOUS!
First Last
First Last Jun 30, 2022 2:25PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
That's a good thing.  But let's not pretend the Republicans are for that.
Ludo Huibers
Ludo Huibers Jun 30, 2022 11:10AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
make america great again????think big, act small..finger point at china and india...look in the mirror and lyao...failed state ....fubar
Eric Beck
Eric Beck Jun 30, 2022 10:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Dems seek to legislate through their party-loyalists embedded in federal administrative agencies.The power belongs to states.
Show previous replies (3)
Eric Beck
Eric Beck Jun 30, 2022 10:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Go read Jefferson's Federalist Papers and see how Trump influenced.
First Last
First Last Jun 30, 2022 10:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Eric Beck   I've never suffered from Trump's derangement
First Last
First Last Jun 30, 2022 10:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Jt Overstreet  If we exclude the media's coverage of bs said by retrumplicans like MTG, Giuliani, Trump, pillow guy, etc., ...
James Shipman
James Shipman Jun 30, 2022 10:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
First Last     I would be interested in seeing copies of the statements or speeches when he did this.  Would you please provide links to the records.  Thanks.
John Laurens
John Laurens Jun 30, 2022 10:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Jt Overstreet  huh? Republicans didn't do ANY of this. Just own that your party, and their obsession with legislating their disgusting language, thought, morality, perversion, and hate OWN 100% of the nasty situation we're in. Grow a spine and own it.
Jack Peterson
Jack Peterson Jun 30, 2022 10:46AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
IMPEACH BIDEN NOW
Show previous replies (6)
John Laurens
John Laurens Jun 30, 2022 10:46AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
First Last  Justified impeachments aren't a problem.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 30, 2022 10:46AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Oh, yes, please. Let's see that impeachment. It would do the country a world of good to see that Qnuttery exposed to public examination.
First Last
First Last Jun 30, 2022 10:46AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
John Laurens   That's why Trump's 2 impeachments are a problem.
First Last
First Last Jun 30, 2022 10:46AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
* aren't
Barani Krishnan
Barani Krishnan Jun 30, 2022 10:46AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Jeff Chevalier  LOL, good one, Jeff!
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email