The Biden administration urged the court not to hear the appeal.
The Supreme Court has agreed to take on a case that will explore the limits of one of the country’s most powerful regulatory entities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear appeals from Republican-led states and coal companies asking it to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.
“This is the equivalent of an earthquake around the country for those who care deeply about the climate issue,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard.
…In January, on the last full day of Donald J. Trump’s presidency, a federal appeals court in Washington struck down his administration’s plan to relax restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The move cleared the way for the Biden administration to issue stronger restrictions.
The timing could not be better, at least for regular Americans. The price of energy is set to explode as we head into winter.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently projected that the cost of home heating for households will increase by 30 percent compared to last year, a level we have not seen since 2014. Energy costs have been low in recent years, allowing households to reallocate funds to other necessities. This winter, the higher prices will come as a shock to families that have become used to lower prices.
The cost of home heating varies widely depending on whether the household uses electricity, natural gas, or delivered fuels such as fuel oil or propane. The bad news is the cost of all fuels is expected to rise this winter, with natural gas and delivered fuels to see the biggest increase. Last year, a home that used natural gas paid about $573 in heating costs during the winter months. This year EIA estimates they will pay about $746. Heating oil costs will increase from $1,210 to $1,734, electricity from $1,192 to $1,268 and propane from $1,368 to $2,012.
And while congressional representatives may hesitate to enact actual laws that can be directly tied to price increases, regulating agencies enact budget crushing rules with abandon . . . especially if it allows them to enact their green-justice policies.
Furthermore, this may hinder Biden administration plans related to the “Green New Deal.”
The Biden administration urged the court not to hear the appeal. It said the EPA is in in the process of coming up with a new rule on carbon dioxide emissions. “As part of that upcoming rulemaking, EPA will take a fresh look at the scope of its authority.”
A Supreme Court decision could complicate the administration’s efforts to impose tougher emission regulations as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change, by moving electricity production away from fossil fuels and toward renewables.
The court will likely hear the case in the spring with the decision by late June.
The central issue in the case is related to how the EPA regulates greenhouse gas emissions according to the Clean Air Act and the Clean Power Plan.
The provision the coal companies and states are challenging allows the EPA to set guidelines for air pollution standards. Based on power given by the Clean Air Act, the 2015 Clean Power Plan sought to shift the U.S. electrical system away from coal power plants to cleaner sources. The challengers claim the provision gives the agency “unbridled power.”
“In the Clean Power Plan, the EPA promulgated standards based instead on a novel, industry-wide national ‘system’ for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by shifting power generation away from the existing sources in favor of other, ‘cleaner’ ones,” North American Coal said in its petition to the Supreme Court.
The Clean Power Plan was challenged in court but before the D.C. Circuit could review the case on the merits, the Supreme Court stayed the rule. The Trump administration EPA then repealed it and created a new rule, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which would create emissions standards for coal and gas energy plants.
However, the repeal of the Clean Power Plan was challenged and the D.C. Circuit ruled the government did have the authority to set regulations for the industry. The coal companies and red states then appealed to the Supreme Court.
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