Today, In rendering a decision on the absence of damages to the applicants, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to regulate carbon emissions in the electric field.
In the summer of major decisions from the US Supreme Court, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency was one of the most unusual cases on the docket. For one thing, it was about an issue that really did not exist. The grievances were related to the Power Plan, a law passed by the EPA in 2015 that would force the electronics industry to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. The process alone is not over. Petroleum regulators and Republican officials criticized the economic impact, went to court, and immediately suspended the rules. One year later, then-president Barack Obama handed Donald Trump the EPA keys, and the process was over.
Thus, environmentalists were shocked and alarmed when the Supreme Court decided to challenge the process that was ending in the courts. That fear was justified. In writing to a number of people with a sixth sense, Chief Justice John Roberts said the consequences of such policies are too great to be implemented without the approval of Congress.
These goals do not undermine the EPA as much as environmentalists fear. The resolution still allows the council to regulate emissions, albeit less than before. And the court has not taken the opportunity to release a statement that organizations such as the EPA have been able to address carbon emissions. But the verdict is still very difficult, to show the court’s skepticism in taking immediate action against government agencies and to provide a way to address future issues in climate change. “They say, ‘We’re laying guns today, but we don’t mean anything right now,'” said Jay Austin, attorney general of the Environmental Law Institute, a nonprofit law firm.
“The court will make its own decision – instead of Congress or a panel of experts – to make decisions on a case-by-case basis,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her appeal, which was joined by two other independent judges. “I can’t think of so many scary things.”
The dispute, brought by the Red State Bar Association, relied on the Clean Air Act, which allowed the agency to establish a “best way to reduce air pollution”. The question before the Court was quite serious. Perhaps with the “best system” Congress meant that the EPA would require expertise in reducing emissions on certain fuels, as is the case with other pollutants. Or maybe it was a larger law, allowing for alternatives to burning coal and coal-fired power plants. With the Power Plan, the EPA opted for a more comprehensive interpretation.
But the disagreement also raised a major legal question: What can government officials do with the incomprehensible instructions provided by Congress? Traditionally, there is another way things go in Washington: Elected officials cannot expect to explain everything about any policy, nor will they. As a result it becomes the responsibility of the people in the regulatory agencies who take the dictated rules and interpret them for action. Judges often do not like to confuse. Under the guise of the so-called “Chevron deference,” referring to the 1984 Supreme Court decision regarding the oil company, judges repeatedly stated that it was best to let scientists and legal experts do their job.