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The Supreme Court just dealt a major blow to those fighting to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.
In a 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA, the court’s conservative supermajority held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not have the authority to adopt a policy that would have set emissions limits based on the reality that power companies are shifting electricity generation from fossil fuels to cleaner sources. Why? Because the Court says that even though Congress gave EPA broad authority to address air pollution in the Clean Air Act, the statute just wasn’t clear enough for the Court.
This line of reasoning marks a major departure from traditionally held deference to federal agencies on how they administer policy. It poses a wider threat to other federal policies that courts may deem too broad, such as vaccine mandates and other public health policies.
How did we get here?
What did the Court do?
Why it matters:
What happens next:
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