Government Watch / Opinion / Politics

Why the Supreme Court EPA Ruling is Significant

By Steven W. Anderson


Other recent Supreme Court decisions have garnered a lot of attention, but the EPA ruling may be the one that protects your wallet. The June 30th decision restores the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches of government. The ruling slows politically appointed agency administrators from moving forward with free market crushing agendas.

Most media coverage fixated on the question of regulating power plant emissions and fighting climate change and lopsidedly focusing on the hampering of the Biden climate agenda. However, the more important finding is that government agencies like the EPA cannot write regulations that the court held to be “overly expansive” going beyond the scope of its responsibility and authority granted by Congress.

Biden has used a concept of “the whole of government” (all agencies in the executive branch) to focus on issues they see as important. Appropriately, the court referenced another executive branch agency’s over-reach when OSHA attempted to require a vaccine-or-test mandate.

 The EPA ruling may also stop the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from going well beyond their mission by trying to regulate the environment by requiring companies to not only conduct specific and detailed carbon accounting, which is onerous and costly, but also to calculate the emissions by the company’s suppliers and customers! It appears that even some of the commissioners thought this was a stretch.

 Meanwhile, many of the world’s largest economies are increasing coal purchases as they attempt to work around Russian gas supply constraints. Additionally, free markets can solve problems without overly complex, business destroying, government-imposed regulations.

A trade group called America’s Power, a party to the EPA litigation, was pleased with the court’s ruling – their statement read in part, “Coal-fired power plants provide affordable and reliable electricity.” Indeed, grid reliability is critical and is already challenged on occasion. Biden, it would seem, should work with power generators of all types as inflation is at a 40-year high. Cooperation seems prudent especially with industries that provide affordable energy.

Now is the time for the Biden Administration to pivot like the European Union which just moved to declare natural gas and nuclear power as “green.” A change of course could help meet objectives set by Biden to be carbon neutral by 2050. China alone produces twice the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels than the United States, so thinking globally while acting locally is a lofty goal and regulating our companies to death is shortsighted.

The rigid approach of pursuing a limit to carbon emissions by the power of the administrative state, is fear based. Labeling carbon a “climate crisis” or regulating to achieve “environmental justice” may appeal to Biden’s base. However, the heavy hand of excessive regulation is not only costly, but also is appropriately subject to legal review. Hopefully, the significance of the Supreme Court’s ruling is reflected upon at the White House.

Steven W. Anderson is an AMAC Action Delegate. He retired after 30 years as a park ranger and land manager with several Department of the Interior Agencies. He and his wife also owned and operated two espresso businesses in Oregon.

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Michael Lewis
4 months ago

The Court needs to rule on many other government agencies that have overreached. More and more the electorate is being ruled by non-elected officials whom we have no control at the ballot box over.

As for Climate change, the “progressives” may not like it, but curbing climate change is first and foremost a political question and not a science question and there are more of us fly over people than elite numbskulls. We too must live, work and feed our families and drive back and forth. Most of cannot afford electric cars and if we could the grid could not support them. See you at the polls!

Stephen Russell
4 months ago

Apply to other agencies too

4 months ago

I hope this court ruling puts legislation back in Congress where it belongs! Tried of the agency swamp being able to pass regulations that are intrusive on the voters and we have no ability to recall those agency swap rats! We finally have a SCOTUS that has enough Constitutional justices to help restore balance in our corrupt federal government. Keep that train moving!

4 months ago

I worked in the power industry in the late 70’s. Because of Nixon’s mandate, they would not license new construction of bi-fuel plants–strictly coal. Would not even allow construction of the basic infrastructure for gas for the day when ‘the worm turned’. they have unregulated say over licensing, and put restrictions on that have nothing to do with emissions, but make operating plants more difficult. this is a good first step; but just that, a first step.

Larry W
4 months ago

EPA and OSHA have great power without enough oversight. Their regulations are sometimes overly complicated, unrealistic, and the fines are beyond reasonable. It’s hard for companies to survive under such oppression.

4 months ago

This is a great Supreme Court ruling provided the Biden administration tells the various departments and agencies to actually abide by it. So far every time the Biden administration loses a ruling at the Supreme Court, they either ignore it or pretend they are slowly, very, very slowly, working towards implementing it. All while they continue to do as they please. So we’ll see how this plays out in real life with the Socialists.

4 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Can SCOTUS hold the executive in contempt for ignoring SCOTUS rulings? It is refreshing to have the Supreme Court ruling on Constitutional principals rather then political whims.

4 months ago
Reply to  David

They should all go to jail for a very long time

4 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Impeach the fool

Edward Mashmann
4 months ago

Makes me wonder how many other agency regulations across the board are hiding in the coal pile. Ed

4 months ago

Thousands of regulations across the entire federal government are effected by this Supreme Court ruling.

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