The Biden administration has just been handed another defeat by the Supreme Court. This decision restricted the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to fully control greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The court found that Congress did not provide the EPA the authority to adopt its own bureaucratic structure to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in order to address global warming. SCOTUS was divided 6-3 along ideological lines. The court’s three liberal justices divided their opinions, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion.
The issue originated from the Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan, which pushed a switch from coal to natural gas and ultimately to wind and solar energy in order to cut carbon emissions at power plants. More than half the states legally challenged this authorization. The Clean Power Plan’s repeal by the Trump administration and its replacement plan were both overturned by the D.C. Circuit in July 2021. The states subsequently filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, alleging that the ruling of the lower court gave the EPA enormous authority over carbon emissions and the right to unilaterally reshape important facets of the American economy. After being put on hold by the Supreme Court in 2016, the Trump administration repealed the plan and replaced it with the tempered Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule.
The disappointment was not taken in silence by The White House. According to a White House spokesman, Biden thought the ruling signaled “another devastating decision from the Court that aims to take our country backwards.”