The US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have the authority to regulate power plants’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The decision curtails EPA’s ability to limit emissions from the energy sector and thereby becomes an obstacle to the Biden-Harris Administration’s plans to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas pollution.
“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,'” the judge’s order reads. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme.”
President Joe Biden described the ruling as “devastating” and added that it “sides with special interests.”
“While this decision risks damaging our nation’s ability to keep our air clean and combat climate change, I will not relent in using my lawful authorities to protect public health and tackle the climate crisis,” the President said and added: “I have directed my legal team to work with the Department of Justice and affected agencies to review this decision carefully and find ways that we can, under federal law, continue protecting Americans from harmful pollution, including pollution that causes climate change.”
EPA administrator Michael S Regan expressed his disappointment with the decision in a separate statement.
“At this moment, when the impacts of the climate crisis are becoming ever more disruptive, costing billions of dollars every year from floods, wildfires, droughts and sea level rise, and jeopardizing the safety of millions of Americans, the Court’s ruling is disheartening,” he commented.
In turn, John Begala, Vice President of Federal and State Policy at the Business Network for Offshore Wind, stated that the Supreme Court’s decision is a step backwards and that while the emergence of an offshore wind supply chain is a great start for the development of the industry, it is not enough.
“In the wake of today’s ruling, Congress should work to accelerate the development of offshore wind, and all renewable energy, to create well-paying jobs and keep the nation on a path to a cleaner energy future,” Begala added.
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