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 »
President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen was paid at least $400,000 to arrange a meeting between Victor Poroshenko and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev. Shortly after the meeting, which was held at the White House was last June, the Ukrainian "anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort." Poroshenko was reportedly desperate to meet with Trump, after documents leaked under his watch revealed that President Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort had failed to disclose his connections with the Ukrainian presidential elections, in violation of U.S. election law.
Ohio Democratic voters have filed suit against Ohio Governor John Kasich and other Republican state officials over alleged partisan gerrymandering in Ohio's electoral map. Despite capturing between 51 and 59 percent of the statewide vote in the past three elections, Republicans hold three-quarters of state congressional seats. "The U.S. Supreme Court is due by the end of June to issue major rulings in two partisan gerrymandering cases from Wisconsin and Maryland that could affect the Ohio suit."
An Iranian missile scientist, killed in a strike in 2011 along with his research center, oversaw the development of a secret, second facility in the remote Iranian desert that ... is operating to this day," according to a team of California weapons experts. "For weeks, the researchers picked through satellite photos of the facility. They found, they say, that work on the site now appears to focus on advanced rocket engines and rocket fuel, and is often conducted under cover of night."