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Supreme Court Limits Federal Power to Curb Carbon Emissions


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  • 07 Jul 2022
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Supreme Court Limits Federal Power to Curb Carbon Emissions

The U.S. Supreme Court has imposed limits on the federal government's authority to issue sweeping regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, in a ruling that undermines President Joe Biden's plans to tackle climate change and could constrain various agencies on other issues. The court's 6-3 ruling constrained the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired power plants under the landmark Clean Air Act anti-pollution law. Biden's administration is currently working on new regulations.

The justices overturned a 2021 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that had struck down Republican former President Donald Trump's Affordable Clean Energy rule. That regulation, which Biden's administration does not plan to retain, would impose limits on a Clean Air Act provision called Section 111 that provides the EPA authority to regulate emissions from existing power plants. Trump's rule was meant to supplant Democratic former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan mandating major reductions in carbon emissions from the power industry. The Supreme Court in 2016 blocked implementation of Obama's plan, which used Section 111 to spur an electric-generation shift from coal to cleaner energy sources, without ruling on its lawfulness.

Source: Reuters