All Eyes on SCOTUS: Supreme Court to Issue Climate Endangerment Finding Ruling – To Decide if EPA has authority to regulate CO2 or Congress
The case before the U.S. Supreme Court is West Virginia vs. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).The primary plaintiff of the case is West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey; he is joined by attorney generals from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Morrissey’s office is also representing the interests of two coal companies in the case. The EPA, backed by the administration of President Joe Biden, is being represented by the U.S. Solicitor General. ... In a 2007 Supreme Court case, the Justices ruled 5-4 in Massachusetts vs. EPA that the agency has to limit greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act if they’re a threat to public health. In a 2009 endangerment finding, the EPA determined carbon dioxide was indeed a threat to public health. Based on that Supreme Court ruling, the Trump administration couldn’t simply kill the CPP; it needed to have a plausible replacement to it.
The plaintiffs argue that decisions around emissions should be at the hands of elected officials and not the EPA. ... What the court decides will have huge implications for the scope of federal administrative power and climate change policy.
On the very last day of court opinions being issued in their current session, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a new climate change related ruling, bringing an end to a string of high-profile cases announced in recent days. The case before the U.S. Supreme Court is West Virginia vs. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The case was last heard by the Court in February and it is expected to be among the last rulings announced on Wednesday morning as the court wraps up work prior to summer recess.
The primary plaintiff of the case is West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey; he is joined by attorney generals from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Morrissey’s office is also representing the interests of two coal companies in the case.
The EPA, backed by the administration of President Joe Biden, is being represented by the U.S. Solicitor General.
Ultimately, the plaintiffs are arguing that the EPA doesn’t have the authority to regulate power plant emissions and that Congress should be granted that authority. The plaintiffs argue that decisions around emissions should be at the hands of elected officials and not the EPA.
The EPA responds to the argument by saying that the Court should not read into the text an artificial restriction because any qualification would be directed at the states, not the federal agency.
What the court decides will have huge implications for the scope of federal administrative power and climate change policy.
The Clean Air Act of 1963 was the first federal legislation regarding air pollution control. It established a federal program within the U.S. Public Health Service and authorized research into techniques for monitoring and controlling air pollution. Four years later, in 1967, the Air Quality Act was enacted to expand federal government activities. Specifically, the 1967 updated permitted the government to pursue enforcement proceedings as it related to interstate air pollution transport. As part of the process, the federal government for the first time conducted significant, widespread ambient monitoring studies and stationary source inspections to understand the release and movement of pollutants into the air.
However, the move to further regulate clean air was pushed by Republican President Richard Nixon. On December 31, 1970, Nixon signed the Clean Air Act, a landmark piece of legislation that led to significant public health and environmental benefits around the country.
“I think that 1970 will be known as the year of the beginning, in which we really began to move on the problems of clean air and clean water and open spaces for the future generations of America,” said President Nixon at the signing.
President Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, with a focus on clean air and eventually clean water. In his 1970 State of the Union Address, President Nixon said, “The great question of the seventies is, shall we surrender to our surroundings, or shall we make our peace with nature and begin to make reparations for the damage we have done to our air, to our land, and to our water?”
Since becoming law, the Clean Air Act has seen significant amendments added over time, with 1977 and 1990 increasing the authority and responsibility of the federal government.
After the Clean Air Act’s first 20 years, in 1990, according to the EPA, it prevented more than 200,000 premature deaths and almost 700,000 cases of chronic bronchitis were avoided. From 1990 to 2010, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants decreased by more than 41 percent, while the Gross Domestic Product increased by more than 64 percent.
In recent years, some have wanted to expand the scope of the Clean Air Act to tackle climate change. While the science remains inconclusive, many scientists believe there is a link between air pollution and an evolving global climate, with some expressing the theory that carbon dioxide, the primary byproduct of gas and diesel engines and fossil-fueled power plants, is impacting global temperatures around Earth.
In the 1970 law, the EPA was required to issue new “standards of performance” for every newly constructed “stationary sources” of pollution, which include power plants. All regulations of power plants must undergo this process and the federal government partners with state governments to ensure EPA standards are met through coordinated enforcement measures.
In 2015, President Barack Obama’s administration set the Clean Power Plan within the Clean Air Act. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) set the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from U.S. power plants. The intent of President Obama’s plan was to rein-in power plant pollution and speed transition away from fossil fuels, citing climate change as the primary reason for the the updated rule.
In 2019, President Donald Trump’s administration killed the Clean Power Plan. Then-EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler criticized the Obama policy, saying, “The CPP would have asked low- and middle-income Americans to bear the costs of the previous administration’s climate plan.” Wheeler added, “One analysis predicted double-digit electricity price increases in 40 states under the CPP.”
In a 2007 Supreme Court case, the Justices ruled 5-4 in Massachusetts vs. EPA that the agency has to limit greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act if they’re a threat to public health. In a 2009 endangerment finding, the EPA determined carbon dioxide was indeed a threat to public health. Based on that Supreme Court ruling, the Trump administration couldn’t simply kill the CPP; it needed to have a plausible replacement to it.
With the CPP repealed, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule was put in its place. The ACE rule establishes emission guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit carbon dioxide at their coal-fired electric generating units.
The ACE rule was short lived, however. On January 19, 2021, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the Affordable Clean Energy rule and remanded to the EPA for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.
At this time, President Biden and the EPA hasn’t revived President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, saying they want to formulate their own regulations for power plants.
Before a new rule could be created though, West Virginia and other Plaintiffs brought the matter before the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court could agree with West Virginia, putting climate change policy out of the EPA’s hands and into that of Congress and/or individual states to do what they feel is best for their voters interests. Such a decision would kill President Biden’s ambitious plans to make the U.S. power sector completely free of carbon pollution by 2035. With Congress unable to move along any bipartisan policy dealing with air pollution, any decision by the Supreme Court to restrict the President’s administration and EPA from regulating greenhouses would lead to action for now.
The Supreme Court could decide to look narrowly at the Clean Air Act’s language about the EPA’s authority of power plants. In this case, it may provide an avenue for the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas pollution through something other than the Clean Air Act.
Either way, the Supreme Court’s ruling will be watched carefully by everyone tracking the future of carbon dioxide emissions in America.
‘What will happen as a result is quite predictable: Greatly increased rates for electric power, decreased availability of the electric power so vital to our way of life, decreased reliability of the electric grid, a lower standard of living, decreased competitiveness of US products in world markets since most countries do not have such regulations, and Communist-style central control of the electric generating industry by a Washington-based bureaucracy with no understanding of the industry.’
Dr. Carlin: ‘In the last few years the literature has blossomed with more and more serious damning studies from a climate alarmist viewpoint. Two weeks ago I outlined the nature of the costs being incurred to meet the desires of climate alarmists to reduce human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide.
It is becoming increasingly evident that increases in emissions of CO2 have had no significant effect on temperatures, and that assumptions made by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in related issues fail tests based on the scientific method and sophisticated econometric tests.’
“This is inevitable – and what I mean by that is the George W. Bush administration did not push back or try to change anything,” argues Marc Morano of Climate Depot. “They rubber-stamped United Nations reports and they never challenged the underpinning of this science that claims that our oil and gas are creating a climate catastrophe.” Morano, Marc (Climate Depot)Morano says Barack Obama came into office and made it worse – and he contends the current administration needs to shoulder some blame as well.
“The Trump administration has not challenged the endangerment finding that the Obama administration implemented that says carbon dioxide is a danger to our atmosphere,” says Morano, “[and] the Trump administration has not yet appointed a presidential commission to reexamine the science.”
Because of that, Morano asks: “Who can blame a judge?” “It’s amazing more judges haven’t come to this ruling,” he continues. “The time has come to officially start challenging the scientific claims of the United Nations and pushing back on this nonsense – and until that happens, I’m not even confident that, if this goes to the Supreme Court, it will go our way at this point.”
This Letter from over 60 highly credentialed scientists states that: “We the undersigned are individuals who have technical skills and knowledge relevant to climate science and the GHG Endangerment Finding. We each are convinced that the 2009 GHG Endangerment Finding is fundamentally flawed and that an honest, unbiased reconsideration is in order.”
“The Clean Power Plan was based on the Obama EPA’s illegal and scientifically bankrupt endangerment finding.
The Obama EPA made up its mind to condemn CO2 before the endangerment rulemaking began, ignored the ongoing global warming pause and then finalized the finding despite the shocking Climategate emails confirming the scientific corruption of the climate alarmists.
Particularly galling was the Obama-invented “social cost of carbon.” In reality, there is no social cost of carbon because without fossil fuels, society stops.
Ironically, the Obama Clean Power Plan was not justified on the basis of reduced CO2 emissions but on the “co-benefit” of lives saved by reduced particulate matter emissions. The notion that coal plant particulate emissions kill people has now been totally debunked. So the Obama Clean Power Plan has absolutely no legs to stand on.
Kudos to Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt for keeping this vital campaign promise.”
The Urgency of Revoking the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding – ‘Only if and when Endangerment Finding (EF) revocation occurs can the profound risks posed by climate alarmism be said to have passed in the US.’ – ‘Even if all of the climate-related EPA regulations promulgated by Obama are revoked or otherwise changed, more such regulations can be promulgated in the future as long as the GHG Endangerment Finding remains in effect.’
Chapter 3 Excerpt: This chapter will take the reader through the facts on the claims about climate, energy, and the environment from the media, UN, and Green New Deal advocates. Princeton professor emeritus of physics Will Happer explained why climate activists are wrong. “Aside from the human brain, the climate is the most complex thing on the planet. The number of factors that influence climate—the sun, the earth’s orbital properties, oceans, clouds, and, yes, industrial man—is huge and enormously variable,” Happer said.
The global warming coalition can accurately be called climate change cause deniers. They deny the hundreds of causes and variables that influence climate change and instead try to pretend that carbon dioxide is the climate control knob overriding all the other factors and that every bad weather event is somehow “proof” of “global warming” and an impending climate “emergency.”