U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS accepts climate-change case on EPA authority to limit carbon emissions

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider the extent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to limit carbon emissions under a provision of the Clean Air Act.

The Supreme Court will review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The appeals court vacated a Trump administration rule relaxing restrictions on greenhouse gases in January.

The Associated Press, Law.com, the New York Times, the Washington Post, SCOTUSblog and Law360 have coverage of the Oct. 29 cert grant.

According to a cert petition in the lead case, the D.C. Circuit “held that a rarely used, ancillary provision of the Clean Air Act grants an agency unbridled power—functionally ‘no limits’—to decide whether and how to decarbonize almost any sector of the economy.”

The New York Times and Law.com have a quote from Richard Lazarus, a professor at Harvard Law School, on the potential impact of the case.

“This is the equivalent of an earthquake around the country for those who care deeply about the climate issue,” Lazarus said.

The Biden administration opposed cert, arguing that court reviews should await a Biden administration replacement rule that would limit greenhouse gases.

The lead case, West Virginia v. EPA, is consolidated with North American Coal Corp. v. EPA, Westmoreland Mining Holdings v. EPA and North Dakota v. EPA. The SCOTUSblog case page for West Virginia v. EPA is here.

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