US Supreme Court Limits EPA’s Authority to Establish Emission Guidelines for the Power Sector
In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court limited the authority of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce greenhouse gases by setting emission guidelines for existing power plants, characterizing the energy generation shifting strategy proposed in the Clean Power Plan (CPP) as an overreach of the agency’s power. In a 6-3 decision, with the three liberal justices dissenting, the Court held that the authority to adopt a regulatory program that would significantly alter how the nation’s energy is generated fell under an “extraordinary case” of the major questions doctrine. West Virginia v. EPA 597 U. S. ____ (2022). The major questions doctrine requires that a federal agency have “clear congressional authorization” when acting on issues of great “economic and political significance.” Id. (citing Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 573 U. S. 302, 324).