Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to EPA Greenhouse Gas Permits

The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's (AEP) Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia, October 30, 2009. In cooperation with AEP, the French company Alstom unveiled the world's largest carbon capture facility at a coal plant, so called 'clean coal,' which will store around 100,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide a year 2,1 kilometers (7,200 feet) underground.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Ben Geman
Feb. 24, 2014, 12:37 a.m.

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 »
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
1 days ago
THE DETAILS
DISCUSSED THE MATTER FOR A NEW BOOK
Steele Says Follow the Money
1 days ago
STAFF PICKS

"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."

Source:
BRITISH PUBLICIST CONNECTED TO TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Goldstone Ready to Meet with Mueller’s Team
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."

Source:
SPEAKING ON RUSSIAN STATE TV
Kislyak Says Trump Campaign Contacts Too Numerous to List
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."

Source:
“BLOWING A SURE THING”
Sabato Moves Alabama to “Lean Democrat”
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login