I don’t want to harsh anyone’s mellow but next up on the chopping block is the ability of the executive departments to regulate, well, anything, and that’s the one the Court’s owners really want.— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) June 25, 2022
Six days later, as reported by the Texas Tribune the US Supreme Court ruled
that the Environmental Protection Agency does not have broad authority to require states to decarbonize their electricity sectors, a decision that is expected to dramatically slow the United States’ ability to reduce greenhouse gases and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The court’s 6-3 ruling on a case sparked by Texas and 16 other states — which addressed an Obama-era regulation aimed at coal-fired power plants, one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation — was a blow to President Joe Biden’s plan to reduce U.S. emissions and meet the country’s goals under international agreements.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was among 17 Republican state attorneys general who sued the EPA over an Obama-era regulation known as the Clean Power Plan, which never went into effect. It was repealed and replaced by what was called the Affordable Clean Energy rule under the Trump administration....
The decision, which limits EPA’s authority to implement regulations that cause shifts in fuel sources for electricity generation, will make it difficult for the U.S. to do its part to meet a 1.5-degree Celsius target that scientists have said is key to preventing extreme effects of climate change, experts said.
“We have to act rapidly to cut emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of global warming,” said Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas. “And it’s unlikely that the natural or economic environment of these coal plants will happen fast enough to meet those emission goals.”
As a prediction, Pierce's tweet was accurate but arguably underwhelming because announcement of the ruling in West Virginia v. EPA was obviously upcoming, and expected to be decided in favor of the plaintiff. However, Pierce understood the wide-ranging implications at stake, including the "ability of the executive departments to regulate, well, anything, and that’s the one the Court’s owners really want." The Texas Tribune explains
The ruling could also open the door for more aggressive challenges to federal regulations at any agency, administrative and environmental lawyers said.
“I do think you’re going to see other federal agencies sit back [as a result of the case],” said Anne Austin, an environmental lawyer who was an assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation during the Trump administration. The ruling may cause federal agencies beyond the EPA to narrow regulations to avoid what could now be “shaky legal ground.”
“Federal agencies are more likely to be challenged [in court],” added Austin, a former EPA Region 6 administrator. States that want to prevent certain federal regulations are likely to take a broad view of the majority’s opinion, she said.
Once upon a time- three, four years ago- there was a major push for a Green New Deal. Those days are way gone, and much more may be headed for the chopping block.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
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