The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency lacked the authority to strong-arm the country into making a nationwide transition away from fossil fuels.
The court’s 6-3 ruling in West Virginia v. EPA dealt a massive blow to the Biden administration’s radical efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
The ruling defanged much of the agency’s coercive power to compel companies and local authorities into meeting President Joe Biden’s goal of halving greenhouse emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
“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,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.
“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Roberts said.
“Congress did not grant EPA in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Clean Power Plan,” the court said.
In her dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagan decried the ruling as one that “strips” the EPA “of the power Congress gave it to respond to ‘the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.'”
“The court appoints itself — instead of Congress or the expert agency — the decisionmaker on climate policy,” Kagan wrote on behalf of the three dissenting justices, who also included Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. “I cannot think of many things more frightening.”
“We are reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision. EPA is committed to using the full scope of its existing authorities to protect public health and significantly reduce environmental pollution, which is in alignment with the growing clean energy economy,” an EPA representative told Reuters.
The Biden administration responded to the setback in a statement delivered by White House spokesman Abdullah Hassan attacking the Supreme Court over its ruling.
“This is another devastating decision from the Court that aims to take our country backwards,” Hassan said, according to Reuters.
“While the Court’s decision risks damaging our ability to keep our air clean and combat climate change, President Biden will not relent in using the authorities that he has under law to protect public health and tackle the climate change crisis,” Hassan added.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom joined the Biden administration in condemning the Supreme Court’s decision.
“SCOTUS sided with the fossil fuel industry, kneecapping EPA’s basic ability to tackle climate change. CA will lead this fight with our $53.9 BILLION climate commitment. We’ll reduce pollution, protect people from extreme weather & leave the world better off than we found it,” Newsom said, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the decision “Catastrophic.”
Catastrophic. A filibuster carveout is not enough. We need to reform or do away with the whole thing, for the sake of the planet. https://t.co/if8PIbfs42
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 30, 2022
While Democrats criticized the Supreme Court over the decision, the ruling was welcomed by many Republicans, including West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who described it as a victory over “federal overreach.”
“Huge victory against federal overreach and the excesses of the administrative state. This is a HUGE win for West Virginia, our energy jobs and those who care about maintaining separation of powers in our nation,” Morrisey said on Twitter.
We have won our West Virginia v. EPA case at the Supreme Court. Huge victory against federal overreach and the excesses of the administrative state. This is a HUGE win for West Virginia, our energy jobs and those who care about maintaining separation of powers in our nation.
— Patrick Morrisey (@MorriseyWV) June 30, 2022
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is welcome news and further proves that EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) overstepped its authority by imposing enormously burdensome regulations on states to reconfigure our electric grid despite Congress’s rejection,” Republican Sen. Shelley Moore-Capito said in a statement.
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) June 30, 2022
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said the court’s decision was “a major victory for limited government” and a “strong rebuke of unelected bureaucrats in the swamp and the administrative state.”
The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA is a major victory for limited government.
This is a strong rebuke of unelected bureaucrats in the swamp and the administrative state.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) June 30, 2022
“This is a lifeline to extending the use of coal,” said Harvard University law professor Jody Freedman, according to Reuters.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.