Supreme Court Upholds EPA Emission Rules

June 25, 2014 By Karen Henry

gavel-energy-manageIn a 7-to-2 vote, the Surpreme Court ruled on June 23 to uphold the new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that call for the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources such as factories and power plants, the New York Times reported.

The EPA was hoping to regulate sources that it said were responsible for 86 percent of all greenhouse gasses emitted from stationary sources. The Court ruling allows the EPA to regulate sources responsible for 83 percent of those emissions.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Justice Antonin Scalia in the decision.

However, in a second part of the ruling, the Court ruled 5-to-4 against the EPA’s interpretation of how many sources of stationary pollution the Clean Air Act seemed to require. Justice Scalia characterized EPA’s broad interpretation as “patently unreasonable.”

The EPA outlined its interpretation in its Clean Power Plan, which it unveiled on June 2. The proposal sought to cut carbon emissions from the power sector 30 percent by 2030, based on 2005 levels.

Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined that part of the decision.

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