Independent Institute Research Director Comments on SCOTUS Restricting EPA's Authority : News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
June 30, 2022

Independent Institute Research Director Comments on SCOTUS Restricting EPA’s Authority

Oakland, CA—Curtailing the power of non-elected regulatory agencies, the U.S. Supreme Court restricted the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gases. In a 6-3 ruling in West Virginia v. EPA, the court sided with energy producers and ruled the EPA exceeded its authority in its interpretation of the Clean Air Act.

“The ruling represents a major victory against the expansion of the administrative state,” said William F. Shughart II, Independent Institute Research Director and Sr. Fellow. “The EPA’s identification of carbon dioxide as one of the greenhouse gases is also misguided. CO2 is not a pollutant, but rather is essential to life on planet Earth,” he added.

In the last of a series of landmark rulings issued at the end of its 2022 term, the U.S. Supreme Court held that major regulatory initiatives cannot be taken by executive branch agencies without explicit congressional authorization.

"It is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme...A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

The court determined the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan,” promulgated in 2015, overstepped its statutory authority by dictating that power plants switch from coal to natural gas for generating electricity. The Court’s majority said that the EPA’s powers to limit carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act of 1970 (amended in 1990) do not extend to micromanaging the fuels used to produce electricity, a policy known as “generation shifting.”

"This is a HUGE win for West Virginia, our energy jobs and those who care about maintaining separation of powers in our nation," said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Independent Institute research fellows addressed the complexities surrounding carbon dioxide (CO2) in the 2021 book Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate (3rd Edition, by S. Fred Singer, David R. Legates, and Anthony R. Lupo), which examines scientific evidence beyond the hyperbole and propaganda surrounding climate issues.

Media contact: Robert Ade, Independent Institute, (510) 635-3690 or [email protected]


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