Last Updated on June 30, 2022
The Supreme Court made a 6-3 decision which ruled the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not allowed to pass extensive regulations on greenhouse gas emissions without Congressional approval.
The Thursday decision in West Virginia v. EPA significantly hurts the Biden administration’s climate change agenda, while it helps Republicans fighting back against the climate change narrative.
“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,’ But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme in Section 111(d),” Chief Justice John Roberts said in the Court’s opinion, where he referenced Section 111 of the Clean Air Act.
The Court explained how it was Congress’ responsibility to try and pass any climate change legislation, saying, “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 Conservative majority on the Court, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, supported the opinion. The three liberal justices, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer, dissented.
The ruling states the EPA is allowed to regulate emissions at the power plant level but is not able to set up a national system without Congressional approval. The opinion noted how Congress has repeatedly failed to pass any such national system.
The case was petitioned to be heard by the SCOTUS after Obama-era regulations sought to cut out carbon emissions from coal power plants. Last year, Republican-led states and coal miners successfully petitioned to rule on this case and the scope of the EPA’s power.
Conservatives across social media supported the ruling. “Today’s SCOTUS decision on WV vs. EPA was a big win for not just WV, but America! I fully support reducing the power of the administrative state. It should be Congress, not unelected bureaucrats who craft our legislation,” Clare Anne Ath, a county commissioner in West Virginia, said of the SCOTUS decision.
Former President Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, commented, “I’ve been fighting against the EPA‘s ridiculous, unconstitutional overreach since I was in Congress. Today’s ruling at SCOTUS is another big win for our Constitution!”