As you have likely heard, the Supreme Court put a hold on EPA’s Clean Power Plan while coal interests (utilities, Chamber of Commerce, biggest coal-mining corp) and 26 Republican-led states take the case to court for the fifth time.
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 as they often do in this conservative-dominated court – showing how important its make-up is.
During the next president’s term, s/he will likely have the opportunity to nominate at least three Supreme Court justices – either giving it a strong majority of conservatives or liberals.
Obama tried to soothe Democrats, saying: "This is going to be an enormous generational challenge. There are going to be people constantly pushing back and making sure we keep clinging to old dirty fuels and a carbon-emitting economic strategy that we need to be moving away from.
"We need to be investing in the future, not the past. Instead of subsidizing the oil industry, we should be investing in solar and wind and battery technology – all the things that promise us we can generate enormous power without destroying the planet for our kids and grandkids."
What’s really surprising about the decision is the Supreme Court established EPA’s authority to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.
In 2007, on a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon is a pollutant that the EPA has the right – and is legally required – to regulate in Massachusetts vs EPA.
And, in a unanimous ruling, it later reaffirmed the decision specifically about power plants, in American Electric Power v. Connecticut.
Since then, fossil interests have been rebuffed twice in rulings by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which refused to even hear the case a third time. In January, the Appeals Court refused to table the Clean Power Plan, while it hears the case yet again. Oral arguments begin June 2, and after that decision, the Supreme Court will decide whether to take it on one more time.
Read our article, Court Says: Read My Lips, EPA Can Regulate Greenhouse Gases.
The upshot is that the EPA’s hands are tied for now, allowing states to skip the the September 6 deadline to submit their emission reduction plans.
The whole thing is really pathetic because a majority of states are well along in meeting EPA’s Clean Power Plan goals.
Read our article, Most States On Track For EPA Power Plan, But Poison Pills Are the Focus.
How sad it is that these special interests want President Obama to look foolish to the world – that they can undermine US pledges to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Mother Nature, of course, will have the last laugh.
Recent court cases Against EPA:
- 2010-2012: fossil interests rebuffed twice by US Court of Appeals when they try to repeal EPA’s right to regulate carbon, regulate vehicle fuel economy standards, and even requiring pollution permits for large, new industrial facilities. The court refused to hear the case a third time.
- 2013: Supreme Court refuses to hear another attempt to repeal EPA’s right to regulate carbon pollution and fuel economy standards.
- 2014: In a 6-2 vote, the Supreme Court rules in favor of EPA’s Cross-State Pollution rule, issued in 2011.
- 2015: In a 5-4 vote, Supreme Court rules against EPA regulations to reduce toxic emissions from power plants, such as mercury, arsenic and lead.
- 2016: In a 6-2 vote, Supreme Court upholds FERC’s authority to integrate demand response into the grid.