The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in a challenge by industry groups and conservative states to the Environmental Protection Agency’s initial greenhouse gas rules for large pollution sources like power plants and factories.
The justices are exploring whether EPA, early in the Obama administration, erred by deciding that regulation of vehicle tailpipe emissions triggered greenhouse gas permit requirements for these big stationary polluters.
On its face the case is pretty narrow. It’s not about EPA’s underlying authority to regulate heat-trapping emissions, and it’s not about upcoming carbon dioxide standards for power plants.
Instead it centers on a Clean Air Act permitting program that requires large new and modified pollution sources to take steps to limits emissions. (In practice this has meant improvements in energy efficiency that many companies were undertaking anyway, the head an association of state regulators said last October when Supreme Court announced it would hear the case.)
But the stakes ““ political and otherwise ““ are nonetheless high and the case has attracted heavy involvement from regulated industries, environmentalists, and states that are both attacking and defending EPA.
As the Associated Press notes in a story on the case: “[A] court ruling against EPA almost undoubtedly would be used to challenge every step of the agency’s effort to deal with climate change, said Jacob Hollinger, a partner with the McDermott Will and Emery law firm in New York and a former EPA lawyer.”
Harvard University law professor Richard Lazarus, a longtime expert on environmental law, tells The Washington Post that if EPA loses, “you can be sure the court’s decision will be read as a repudiation of what Obama’s doing.”
But the same Post table-setter on the case notes that an EPA victory could be read as an affirmation of President Obama’s push to tackle climate change using executive powers.
Parties challenging EPA include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, refining industry groups, power companies, the National Association of Manufacturers, and more.
A coalition of conservative states such as Texas and Alabama is also challenging EPA’s climate rules, while a separate coalition that includes California, New York and Massachusetts is defending the regulators.
The American Bar Association has a handy primer on the case and copies of all the briefs here.
What We're Following See More »
Donald Trump has said he received a $17 million insurance payment in 2005 following Hurricane Wilma, which he claimed did severe damage to his private club in Florida. However, an Associated Press investigation could not find any evidence of the large-scale damage that Trump has mentioned. Additionally, Trump claimed that he transferred some of the $17 million to his personal account thanks to a "very good insurance policy."
The General Services Administration "will not choose a location for a FBI headquarters until after the new year, a potential setback for Prince George's County and its aim to land the agency and its 11,000 employees. ... It had hoped to make a decision by the end of 2016, timing which would have favored Maryland in terms of political clout on Capitol Hill. Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker had been pressing for a decision before 2017," while veteran Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who's retiring, can still influence the outcome.
The majority and minority leader of the House are both saying "California's veterans are not to blame for being mistakenly overpaid, after a Los Angeles Times story revealed that officials are trying to claw back millions in bonuses from California National Guardsmen. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the efforts to recoup the money 'disgraceful,' and asked for the Department of Defense to waive the repayments soldiers would be forced to make if they inappropriately received re-enlistment bonuses for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she's looking for a "legislative fix" in the lame-duck session.
A new Investor’s Business Daily/TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence poll shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each earning 41% support. On the one hand, the poll has been skewing in Trump's favor this year, relative to other polls. But on the other, data guru Nate Silver called the IBD/TIPP poll the most accurate in 2012.