EPA Moving Forward on Regulating Carbon Emissions Despite High Court Review

EPA Moving Forward on Regulating Carbon Emissions Despite High Court Review EPA Moving Forward on Regulating Carbon Emissions Despite High Court Review (Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 03 November 2021 06:17 PM

The EPA plans to move forward on regulating carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act despite the Supreme Court agreeing to hear appeals from Republican-led states and coal companies challenging the authority, reports Reuters.

"EPA will continue to move forward and use its statutory authority to be sure that we protect the public from harmful pollution, greenhouse gas pollution and pollution that contributes to the degradation of air quality," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in an interview with Reuters.

GOP-led states in asking the high court to take up the case said a federal appeals court had granted the EPA “unbridled power” with “no limits” to mandate standards that would be “impossible for coal and natural gas power plants to meet.”

The decision could provide a glimpse into how the 6-3 conservative court will interpret the federal government's role in combating climate change, potentially hobbling President Joe Biden's ability to meet his goals to decarbonize the U.S. economy to curb global warming.

Regan said he expects the court to back the EPA's authority, and added that he also remains confident Biden can work with a divided Congress to pass important climate legislation.

But he added: "Irrespective [of what] Congress does, EPA will move forward with its statutory authority."

"For years, conservatives have been pressuring the court to reinvigorate long-dormant limits on Congress' power to delegate regulatory authority to administrative agencies," said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

"One of the questions the Court has agreed to take up in these cases is whether, in delegating the power to the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, Congress exceeded those limits," Vladeck said. "If the Court says yes, that will not just curtail the EPA's power to respond to climate change in a moment in which it's hard to imagine that Congress will fill the gap; it would have enormous implications for — and impose far greater limits on — the federal government's regulatory power writ large."

The move comes as President Joe Biden during five days abroad at two global summits announced strong new U.S. regulations from the EPA and launched a Global Methane Pledge, in partnership with the European Union, that would push oil and gas companies to detect, monitor and repair methane leaks from new and existing wells, pipelines and other equipment more accurately.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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