Attorney Jacob Roth said in a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Monday that the EPA’s right to control greenhouse gas emissions is a matter for the EPA to determine how a coal-fired power plant operates. According to Roth, the EPA is trying to determine “how we generate electricity in the United States.”
Off InvestigationOn the same day that the United Nations climate panel warned that the consequences of climate change could be worse than they thought, judges were trying to clarify the case of “West Virginia vs. EPA”, which has been dragged out since 2016.
At the time, the U.S. coal industry and nearly 20 conservative states wanted to know if the EPA was going beyond the limits of the Supreme Court. In the run-up to the major climate summit in Paris in 2015, Obama presented an ambitious clean-up plan, which would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mainly through tougher regulations for coal-fired power plants.
Obama played a key role in the ecosystem in this project. Obama argued that greenhouse gases are bad for the environment, which is why the Air Pollution Act allowed the EPA to control its emissions. By defining greenhouse gases as “pollution” he was able to ignore Congress and dictate that the EPA also has the power and duty to combat this pollution.
Opponents of Obama’s climate policy, however, felt that the president had stretched the definition of air pollution too far. Climate policy had deeply touched the community and had far-reaching economic consequences, allowing only Congress to rule, they thought. They therefore petitioned the Supreme Court to ban Obama’s plan. In 2016, the court handed down a preliminary ruling: Obama and the EPA have gone too far beyond Congress. The president had to suspend his plan until a final verdict was reached.
Not necessary anymore
That judgment never came. The main reason for this is that judgment is no longer necessary. After his election victory, President Donald Trump put an end to all the climate ambitions of the US government in 2017. The Clean Power project went to waste and was sidelined by the EPA Trump. The EPA found that it had no authority to reduce greenhouse gases. Trump sees no role for the federal government to do that.
After the success of Joe Biden, the clean power project, which wants to pursue a firm climate policy again, has long been obsolete. The reduction that Obama intended to achieve through this plan in 2030 has already been achieved in 2019 without any policy. Despite Trump’s promise to revive the coal industry, hundreds of old coal-fired power plants were shut down during his tenure. Gas-fired power plants and solar and wind power have become the most attractive options from an economic point of view.
A Democratic senator has been blocking Joe Biden’s investment plan for months
So the question is why the Supreme Court Judgment must now be rendered In the case against the EPA. Biden executive attorney Elizabeth Freelogger said there was no reason for the court to rule on the case now. He even wondered if the court should rule until the EPA used any power to regulate greenhouse gases, and until the president had any plans to involve the EPA in his climate policy.
The coal industry and conservative countries think differently. What is at stake here is West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said recently, who makes the rules in the United States. “Are they elected officials or representatives of the people in Congress?”
Judge Samuel Alido agrees with Morrissey. In his view, the question is whether it is right for the EPA to demand the power to formulate industrial and energy policies and to balance issues such as jobs, economic impact, the catastrophic effects of climate change and costs.
Then the door closed
In fact, the background question is whether the US government is capable of pursuing an ambitious climate policy. By closing the door behind the EPA, Republicans hope to overturn President Biden’s climate policy. It is almost impossible to get a majority for that policy in a divided Congress. For months, a Democratic senator – Joe Mancin, not by accident from West Virginia – has been blocking President Joe Biden’s grand investment plan. Much of his ‘Built Back Better’ project is about climate.
Speaking at the hearing, West Virginia Attorney General Lindsay Sea said the purpose of the ecosystem’s powers should be clarified once and for all. He says the EPA can now “spend billions of dollars, formulate policies in ways that will affect thousands of businesses, and is designed to address the problem of global impact.” According to Zee, that means the company is beyond its powers.
Judge Brett Kavanagh seemed to agree with her. He said Congress should speak clearly if it wants to give powers of great economic and political importance to a company. Attorney Preloger recalled that in 2006 the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases were covered by the Air Pollution Act and that the EPA had the right to regulate them.
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