The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to wade into the tangled dispute over the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases.
The court agreed to hear six of nine challenges to the greenhouse regulations, and to limit the parties to answering a single question: “Whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases.”
The petitions challenged a 2012 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit broadly upholding the EPA's greenhouse gas regulations, which business advocates have criticized as a set of rules that could make small businesses, apartments, even individual homes, polluters under the law.
Opponents of the EPA regulations cheered the high court’s action. “The Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert will, we hope, ultimately put the brakes on EPA’s unprecedented regulatory barrage of global warming rules,” said Sam Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, one of the groups that petitioned the court, in a statement.
But environment groups also took solace from the court’s denial of review of some of the challenges, one of which asked the court to overturn its landmark precedent on the issue, Massachusetts v. EPA, a 2007 decision. Vickie Patton, general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund, said the court’s actions amounted to a vindication of EPA’s power to address climate change.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to deny numerous further legal challenges to EPA’s science based determination that six greenhouse gases threaten our nation’s health and well-being is a historic victory for all Americans that are afflicted by the ravages of extreme weather,” Patton said.
More on today's Supreme Court action later today on our Supreme Court Brief newsletter.