SCOTUS Rules on EPA Setting Carbon Emissions

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The Supreme Court sharply curtails the authority of the EPA to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change. In a 6-3 ruling, the court sides with conservative states and fossil-fuel companies in adopting a narrow reading of the Clean Air Act. This ruling will significantly limit the EPA’s powers when it comes to regulating power plants’ carbon emissions and declares that unelected bureaucrats at the EPA had no business making laws through regulation.

“Congress did not grant EPA in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Clean Power Plan,” SCOTUS wrote in the ruling.

Gorsuch concurred…

…lawmaking under our Constitution can be difficult. But that is nothing particular to our time nor any accident. The framers believed that the power to make new laws regulating private conduct was a grave one that could, if not properly checked, pose a serious threat to individual liberty. 

When Congress seems slow to solve problems, it may be only natural that those in the Executive Branch might seek to take matters into their own hands. But the Constitution does not authorize agencies to use pen-and-phone regulations as substitutes for laws passed by the people’s representatives. In our Republic, “[i]t is the peculiar province of the legislature to prescribe general rules for the govern- ment of society.” Fletcher v. Peck, 6 Cranch 87, 136 (1810). Because today’s decision helps safeguard that foundational constitutional promise, I am pleased to concur.