Supreme Court to Decide if Obama and the EPA Overstepping Bounds on Clean Air Act
The argument of the opposition hinges on a single question: Does the prior Supreme Court ruling allowing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from automobiles automatically grant the same authority in regulating power plants, refineries and manufacturing facilities?
While the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the challenge, no alterations or suspensions have been made toward the current regulatory operations of the EPA and Clean Air Act implementation…for now.
Lobbying groups and industry proponents, both supporters and participants of the petitioning, decry the actions of the EPA as ‘regulatory overreach’.
While the petitioners do have their sights set squarely on the EPA, the consensus on the matter, even on both sides, is that the outcome will have only a slight impact on the agency’s proceedings, if any. But legal analysts argue this is also aimed at the Supreme Court, as law professor Jonathan Adler contends: “The question presented will force the court to confront the consequences of its handiwork.”
Because of the limited scope of the petition and the claims actually being considered by the court, there likely won’t be too many celebrations and victory parties around the oil and energy industry, even with a favorable outcome for the parties hoping for relief from the EPA’s looming pressures.
As more regulations are created and enforced, compliance is costly for energy industry entities. Furthermore, those costs are undoubtedly headed down the funnel to consumers as increasing cost and demand create the potential for a veritable volcanic eruption in electricity prices – even by President Obama’s own admission that electricity rates will ‘skyrocket’ (“necessarily”, of course).
The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the petitioners’ challenge is being widely applauded throughout the U.S. as a smart ‘check’ of the system and the bounds of the EPA. Still, when we retrace the steps, we come back to the point where Obama and the EPA first kicked off the Clean Air Act master plan.
Let’s take a moment to clarify, though: We say ‘master plan’ because, of course, the Clean Air Act itself is more than 40 years old, having first come into existence under President Nixon in 1970.
This offers a bit more perspective on the matter, considering Obama’s initial solution involved aggressive environmental goals and regulatory methods intended to coalesce within the bounds of a 43-year-old law.
“It’s a pandering patchwork policy at its best, and an economically crippling endeavor at worst,” said one energy industry professional following the President’s speech introducing the plan.
Even after Obama debuted the details on his Climate Change plans, doubts were cast regarding whether the President and his EPA were realistic about staying in the bounds of the Clean Air act. The Supreme Court is just now considering the question, but this event has been a prediction from the very beginning.
The energy industry and environmental advocates alike are watching to see how the challenge unfolds, but no word yet on the ETA of an outcome. We will of course keep everyone updated regarding the proceedings and the Court’s rulings.