U.S. Supreme Court reins in EPA, delivers massive blow to Biden’s climate agenda

Wikimedia Commons/Analogue Kid

The Supreme Court dealt a critical blow to the Biden administration’s wide-ranging climate goals Thursday, limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

By Josh Hypes

The Supreme Court delivered a massive blow to the Biden administration’s climate change plan Thursday, severely limiting the power of federal agencies.

The Court, in a 6-3 decision on West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), limited the agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants, significantly curtailing the power of the federal agency. The decision restricts the agency to regulating individual power plants and not the entire power sector.

“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,” Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

The case stems from an Obama-era Environment Protection Agency climate rule and addresses the scope of Congress’s ability to delegate legislative authority to executive agencies.

In August 2015, the EPA adopted the Clean Power Plan that sought to cut carbon emissions by 32% from power plants by 2030.

However, in early 2016, the Supreme Court blocked the plan’s implementation in a 5-4 vote. Plaintiffs successfully argued that the EPA had exceeded its congressional mandate under the 1970 Clean Air Act, which broadly authorizes the agency to issue the “best system of emission reduction.”

The Trump administration repealed the Clean Power Plan and created the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which included looser restrictions and allowed states to regulate their standards.

“Unlike the Clean Power Plan, ACE adheres to the Clean Air Act and gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide a dependable, diverse supply of electricity that all Americans can afford,” former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement at the time.

Hillsdale College Associate Professor of Politics Joseph Postell said the case has to do with the EPA’s authority to regulate major sources of air pollution that are stationary, like smokestacks.

“Does the statute allow the Obama administration to force the state of West Virginia to put more clean power into its energy grid as a means of reducing carbon emissions or does the Clean Air Act force the states to implement technology controls at the actual existing plants?” Postell said.

Postell said the new Trump rules regulated only the existing sources of air pollution rather than requiring new energy generation from sources like wind and solar.

“The Trump administration basically advanced version of what is now known as the major questions doctrine,” Postell said. “When there is a question of major importance or a major question. It has to be resolved by Congress and cannot be kicked over to the agency.”

In 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated everything the day before Biden’s inauguration, according to SCOTUSblog. While the Biden Administration could reinstate the Clean Power Plan, it has instead chosen to draft alternate power plant emissions rules.

The Biden Administration was awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling before releasing its plan, the Washington Post reported.

Following the repeal, West Virginia led a coalition of 20 other Republican-led states and coal companies to file an appeal to ask the Supreme Court to challenge the appeals court decision.

The plaintiffs argued that the appeals court wrongly grants “an agency unbridled power—functionally ‘no limits’—to decide whether and how to decarbonize almost any sector of the economy.” They asked the Supreme Court to preemptively intervene before the EPA issues additional emissions reduction plans or rules using this authority.

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Analogue Kid

6 thoughts on “U.S. Supreme Court reins in EPA, delivers massive blow to Biden’s climate agenda

  1. Hope this applies to the out-of-control ATF as well. They’re changing rules with no oversight.

  2. It is quite obvious the Supreme Court Justices have had enough…….and Schumer bless his heart can take the credit for that.

  3. The real blow to Joe Biden’s climate agenda is what’s happening around the world from Asia to Europe to third world countries that are burning coal to run their economies……Its China, India, Japan, third world countries and now several European nations returning to burning coal…….These countries totaling billions of people are burning coal…….They recognize that wind and solar cannot handle the energy needs of the world.

    The actions of these countries highlight how out of touch Biden is with his climate agenda.

    • Peter I would call it a national security risk to make our nation look so utterly stupid- as this administration has done!
      Why does everyone think that Russia and China are now up to no good.
      None of this happened when Donald Trump was President.

      The Lunatics are running the asylum and all the world knows it.
      I hope all the 81 million Biden voters understand that when America falls, so does the world.
      And now it’s burning coal.. and it we’ll all be facing starvation next.
      They voted for world war because cold and hungry people revolt.
      I hope they are ready for it all..these people that need safe spaces.

  4. This is Trumps second term, and it going well for us. LOL. — that aside its time to place controls on the deep state. Here in Vermont, we need to do the same, and ignore the state rules that the legislature has not stated clearly. We might become a free society again, if this is done.

    • Biden’s “term” is Trump’s revenge for Dem/Progs stealing the
      “2020 Election”.

      Next time, Republicans will actively participate in all phases, to make sure shenanigans get nipped in the butt, from the get go


      This awful term shows Dem/Progs are totally incapable of governing.
      Everything they touch turns to very expensive s…t.

      Bernie and his socialistic $6 TRILLION BBB, would have made everything much worse.

      Thank the Lord for Mancine.

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