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  • Court’s Ruling on Emissions Benefits Polluters

    The "generation shifting" approach, which the Supreme Court said the EPA did not have, is "environmentally effective, economically efficient, and supported by power companies", said Dena Adler, a research scholar at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University's School of Law. "While this is an unwelcome and unnecessary setback for addressing the urgent climate crisis, EPA still retains the authority, and an obligation, to limit greenhouse gas emissions, including from the power sector," she told China Daily.

  • What Climate Rules Are OK? No One Knows

    The "major questions" doctrine is an attempt to rein in what the court sees as regulatory overreach. The problem is the court has yet to define exactly what counts as a major question, said Richard Revesz, an environmental professor at New York University Law School. "They presented the doctrine in a kind of amorphous and unbounded way," he said. "And we just don't know what this means for the next EPA regulation or the next regulation by any other agency."

  • What the Supreme Court Ruled the EPA Can and Can’t Do

    Following the West Virginia v. EPA ruling last Thursday, the agency “still has a number of pathways to do its job to protect public health and the environment, including by limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants,” Dena Adler, a research scholar at New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity, told The Hill in an email. But she and other sources agreed there are important limitations now for the EPA that weren’t there before. The ruling specifically applies to the EPA’s 2015 Clean Power Plan, which had a goal of so-called generation-shifting, or accelerating the shift from coal-fired power to renewable energy and natural gas.“That’s a significant constraint, because it was the EPA’s first choice for a reason,” said Jack Lienke, regulatory policy director at the Institute for Policy Integrity. “It reflects how the power grid actually operates and the fact that electricity is fungible.” 

  • EPA Retains Tools to Cut Power Sector GHG Emissions Despite Supreme Court Curbing Its Authority: Attorneys

    “While this is a setback for addressing the climate crisis, EPA still retains the authority, and an obligation, to limit greenhouse gas emissions, including from the power sector,” Adler said in an email. Besides increasing the efficiency of power plants through heat rate improvements, the EPA can look to other ways to lower carbon emissions such as co-firing with low-carbon fuels and carbon capture and sequestration, according to Adler.

  • Supreme Court Restricts EPA’s Ability to Go Big on Climate

     Adler warned that the case could be the “canary in the regulatory coal mine” because the court relied on the little-used “major questions doctrine” to reach its conclusion that EPA had veered beyond its congressionally approved instructions. Adler warned that applying the major questions legal theory more broadly — as conservative judges on the court have increasingly done to block regulatory initiatives — “will create more uncertainty for agencies and the entities that they regulate.”

  • Climate Body Blow

    The Supreme Court's 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA may not be the worst outcome environmental advocates feared, but it is a major blow to the Biden administration's efforts to reduce the severity of human-caused global warming. "While environmental advocates have much to criticize in the outcome of this case, it is noteworthy that the majority opinion did not challenge the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases in the first place", Richard Revesz, a professor at NYU Law School, said in a statement.

  • U.S. Supreme Court Deals Blow to Climate Change Fight

    Speaking of the West Virginia v. EPA ruling, Richard Revesz said, "It's basically turning on its head decades of accepted law involving the relationship between congress and administrative agencies."

  • Climate Activists Poised To Shift Focus To States, Businesses After EPA Ruling

    Dueling sentiments defined the day for climate activists, investors and lawyers as they reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA. “EPA still has tools to work with. EPA is still going to do the work of regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants,” said Jack Lienke. “It’s frustrating ... but the game isn’t over.” 

  • What’s Left in Biden’s Climate Toolbox?

    "The EPA still has a number of pathways to do its job to protect public health and the environment," said Dena Adler, a research scholar at New York University School of Law, noting that "Congress wrote the Clean Air Act to broadly protect public health."

  • What Does the New US Supreme Court Ruling Mean for Carbon Emissions?

    On 30 June, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling that could set back efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate other environmental issues. It could be a “canary in the coal mine” for how this court will interpret agencies’ authority to use their expertise, says Dena Adler at New York University School of Law.