Republicans Applaud SCOTUS EPA Decision as Victory Over Bureaucracy, Democrats Make Dire Predictions

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Republicans and Democrats are split over a decision by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) that greatly limits the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon emissions.

While Republicans have painted the decision as a victory over unelected bureaucrats, Democrats are sounding the alarm about the environmental toll that they say the decision could have.

The Supreme Court ruled 6–3 on June 30 that the Clean Air Act does not give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) widespread power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, which are considered the cause of global warming under the theory of manmade climate change.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court’s majority opinion (pdf) in West Virginia v. EPA, court file 20-1530. Roberts was joined by the court’s other five conservatives. The court’s three liberal justices dissented.

While “capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’” Roberts wrote, quoting a 1992 precedent, “it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme in Section 111(d)” of the Clean Air Act.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” he wrote.

The decision will have a wide-reaching impact on the EPA’s authority, forcing it to ask Congress for permission to regulate carbon dioxide emissions in the future.

Republicans Declare Victory

Republicans quickly applauded the decision as a victory over the EPA’s seizure of power outside the scope of congressionally-approved laws and as a victory for American energy.

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to limit the EPA’s powers,” wrote Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Twitter. “Unelected, climate-crazy bureaucrats don’t get to decide what our laws are. It’s time to unleash American energy.”

By Joseph Lord

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