⛈️ Regulating The Regulators
The US Supreme Court is poised to rule that the EPA has no authority to regulate carbon emissions. In the case before it, West Virginia v. EPA, the state of West Virginia is effectively asking the high court to block any future rules issued by the federal agency to regulate carbon emissions.
The case dates back to 2009, when then President Obama began using the executive office to implement nationwide rules tackling climate change. As NPR states, the EPA was tasked with regulating carbon emissions from the single largest source: power plants. However, 16 states, including West Virginia fought back against that.
“I think this is really about a fundamental question of who decides the major issues of the day,” Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia's Attorney General said in a press conference earlier this month, notes CNN. “Should it be unelected bureaucrats, or should it be the people's representatives in Congress? That's what this case is all about.”
The UN Report
The case is being heard and decided as the UN has released a new report stating that billions of people around the globe are facing increasingly severe impacts from climate change. The report is “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,” said António Guterres, the UN secretary general, according to the New York Times. “With fact upon fact, this report reveals how people and the planet are getting clobbered by climate change.”
If the Supreme Court guts the EPA's ability to effectively regulate the environment and fight climate change, the federal government may be left with no other tools to combat climate change now. Furthermore, should the SCOTUS decide that the EPA has overstepped its authority, the ruling may spread and limit the authority of other federal agencies.