Supreme Court curbs EPA's ability to fight climate change
The decision issued Thursday will send shockwaves across the federal government, threatening agency action that comes without clear congressional authorization.
Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said the ruling "could be cataclysmic for modern administrative law."
"For a century, the federal government has functioned on the assumption that Congress can broadly delegate regulatory power to executive branch agencies.
"But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme" under the law in question.
Writing separately, Justice Neil Gorsuch emphasized the court's move to limit agency power, which he considers unaccountable to the public.
"The Court appoints itself -- instead of Congress or the expert agency -- the decision-maker on climate policy," she wrote.
"This is another devastating decision from the Court that aims to take our country backwards," a White House official said in a statement.
Climate impacts of power plantsFossil fuels in the power sector are a huge contributor to the climate crisis.
Emissions from power production rose last year for the first time since 2014, an increase that was mainly driven by coal use.
Scope of Clean Air ActCentral to the case was the section of the Clean Air Act concerning the scope of the EPA's ability to regulate power plants.
Because there is no current EPA rule on power plant emissions on the books, court watchers were surprised when the Supreme Court agreed to take up a challenge to the lower court opinion brought by Republican-led states.
Republicans 'pleased' with decisionMorrisey on Thursday said the court "made the correct decision to rein in the EPA, an unelected bureaucracy."