After their appeal was rejected three times by the US Court of Appeals, special interests and Republican-led states weren’t deterred and took their case to the Supreme Court once again.
What’s the case? They want the Supreme Court to repeal its decision that gave EPA the right to regulate carbon emissions. They also question whether the EPA has the right to regulate emissions from cars and trucks.
Back in 2007, on a 5-4 vote, the Court ruled that carbon is a pollutant that the EPA has the right – and responsibility – to regulate under the Clean Air Act in the Massachusetts vs EPA case.
But the Supreme Court announced it will not hear the case and it will also leave EPA’s fuel economy standards in place.
"Today’s orders by the U.S. Supreme Court make it abundantly clear, once and for all, that EPA has both the legal authority and the responsibility to address climate change and the carbon pollution that causes it," says Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund.
But That’s Not the End of This Story
Unfortunately, the Court will hear arguments against EPA’s recently proposed rules on new power plants.
It will consider whether EPA’s right to regulate vehicle greenhouse gas emissions gives it the authority to also regulate emissions from stationary sources, such as power plants and oil refineries.
In other words, the goal of special interests is to establish limits on EPA’s authority and whether it is over-reaching by extending regulations to power plants.
"This bodes well for efforts to cauterize the damage, as the court will consider whether EPA needs to legally and factually justify each action taken to regulate GHG, or whether it can just wave Massachusetts v. EPA as a magic wand and conjure what it wishes," Eric Groten, an attorney representing the industry-backed Coalition for Responsible Regulation, told Reuters.
"The EPA is seeking to regulate U.S. manufacturing in a way that Congress never planned and never intended," Harry Ng, vice president and general counsel of American Petroleum Institute, told Reuters.
Oral arguments are likely to be heard early next year, with a ruling issued by the end of June.
Also by June, EPA is required to issue its most controversial greenhouse gas regulations – on existing power plants.