Supreme Court to Hear Crucial Climate Change Case

Supreme Court to Hear Crucial Climate Change Case

( – On February 28, the Supreme Court heard arguments in West Virginia v. EPA, potentially the most critical climate change case debate in the past decade. Plaintiffs seek to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to control and regulate pollution in power plants. Analysts believe the outcome could also have a trickle-down effect on federal agencies’ ability to manage telecommunications, workplace safety, and healthcare.

Climate Change Action

West Virginia v. EPA has been in the works since former President Barack Obama was in power circa 2009. The former president first sought to reduce carbon emissions in the auto industry, later redirecting his attention towards the country’s biggest pollution problem: coal-fired power plants. He eventually created the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which empowered the EPA to regulate industries under the Clean Air Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. §7401).

The EPA created strict carbon limits for each state instead of regulating each plant. They established alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, and natural gas. The ultimate goal was to create enough energy in the US while lowering greenhouse emissions.

President Joe Biden’s climate change plan has allotted billions of dollars in efforts to minimize manufactured climate change and carbon emissions that, in his opinion, are being unnecessarily released into the environment. A final SCOTUS decision in West Virginia v. EPA could halt or strongly restrict these environmental plans and more.

Federal Control

Biden’s current goal is to run entirely on clean energy by 2035. Environmental advocates are afraid the Conservative majority in the Supreme Court could result in an unfavorable outcome and delay that deadline.

Is it possible the EPA has too much control? Could halting the EPA’s authority over plants allow them to monitor their environmental effect on the planet more efficiently individually?

During his administration, Donald Trump nominated three Justices who are now serving on the Supreme Court. These three justices have questioned whether federal agencies deserve total control over economic and environmental establishments.

Implications on the Environmental Protection Agency

EPA officials under the Obama administration stated that the Clean Air Act gives them the right to create overarching regulations for all power plants across the country to minimize carbon emissions. However, GOP-led state officials connected with the lawsuit counter that statement, saying the Clean Air Act only gives the agency power to create mandates at individual plant sites themselves.

The Attorney General of West Virginia, Patrick Morrisey, leads this climate change lawsuit against the EPA. In an interview, he said the court must take action quickly before Biden’s administration presents their power plan regulation this summer. He urged the Justices to address this lawsuit right away before the feds attempt to implement more controls and structure over power plants.

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