In a 5-4 decision Monday, the Supreme Court limited the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The decision is another in the growing body of opinions from the Court that supports the corporate class in America.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion of the Court. In it, he stated that the EPA does not have authority, in some instances, to force some of the biggest polluters to purchase permits to do so. According to the Justice, however, the decision will only have a minor effect on the EPA’s ability to regulate these polluters. Scalia claimed that the Court’s opinion would only affect 3% of greenhouse gases emitted from stationary sources.
The decision took aim at the Clean Air Act. Industry groups argued that the agency had stretched the language of the law, in order to coincide with a political regulatory agenda. However, the decision stopped shy of affecting proposed rules for the regulation of polluters.
Ultimately, the decision came down to a legalistic interpretation of the law about whether the action of the EPA were sensible or an impermissible use of executive authority.
Even despite Scalia’s decision, the EPA expressed that it will find other ways to pursue the protection of our environment through its statement:
Today is a good day for all supporters of clean air and public health and those concerned with creating a better environment for future generations. Today, the Supreme Court largely upheld EPA’s approach to focusing Clean Air Act permits on only the largest stationary sources of greenhouse gases such as power plants, refineries, and other types of industrial facilities. The Supreme Court’s decision is a win for our efforts to reduce carbon pollution because it allows EPA, states and other permitting authorities to continue to require carbon pollution limits in permits for the largest pollution sources. We are pleased that the Court’s decision is consistent with our approach to focus on other Clean Air Act tools like the Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan.