Supreme Court Weighs Limits on EPA’s Air Pollution Plan Amidst Ongoing Environmental Battle

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court appeared ready to curb once further the environmental protection authority of the Biden administration by temporarily halting an EPA initiative to reduce air pollution that crosses state borders.

This decision, anticipated to be made by June, would align with recent rulings by the court that have gradually reduced the agency’s power to tackle climate change and water pollution.

The United States Supreme Court convened to consider the fate of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “good neighbor” plan, designed to address cross-state air pollution concerns. The proposal mandates that factories and power plants in Western and Midwestern states reduce ozone pollution affecting Eastern states, a contentious issue sparking legal battles.

The justices, showcasing familiar divides, deliberated on whether to halt the plan, directing states to implement measures curbing emissions linked to health issues such as asthma, lung disease, and premature death. A provisional ruling against the plan could pause its enforcement for an extended period, pending ongoing litigation.

Under the Clean Air Act, states can formulate their plans, subject to EPA approval. However, after the agency deemed plans from 23 states inadequate, it issued its own plan last February. Subsequently, seven federal appeals courts blocked the disapproval of plans submitted by a dozen states, leaving 11 states under the federal rule.

Read Next: Former YouTuber Ruby Franke Sentenced to Consecutive Prison Terms for Child Abuse Charges

High Court Reviews EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor’ Plan

supreme-court-weighs-limits-epa–air-pollution-plan-amids-ongoing-environment
The conservative majority on the Supreme Court appeared ready to curb once further the environmental protection authority of the Biden administration by temporarily halting an EPA initiative to reduce air pollution that crosses state borders.

Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia, along with energy companies and trade groups, directly challenged the federal plan in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Following a divided three-judge panel’s refusal to stay the rule during litigation, the matter was escalated to the Supreme Court.

The applicants argued that the federal plan was a “failed experiment” and urged the justices to block it based on the appeals courts’ rulings. The EPA countered, emphasizing the severe consequences of delaying efforts to control pollution affecting downwind states, contrary to Congress’s directive.

During the argument, Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned whether remaining states were harmed by the exclusion of others from the federal plan. On the other hand, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh criticized the agency’s explanation for the plan’s limited scope, describing it as a “goose egg.”

Lawyer Catherine E. Stetson, representing industry groups opposing the federal plan, warned of billions of dollars in compliance costs over the next 12 months.

Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson doubted the Supreme Court’s decision to consider arguments on emergency programs, which is not usual. However, according to Justice Kavanaugh, the court’s accepted standards for putting a regulation on hold were deemed sufficient, with a focus on the likelihood of success in underlying arguments.

The outcome of this pivotal legal battle will shape the future of the EPA’s “good neighbor” plan, influencing air quality regulations across states and industries.

Read Next: New Law Warns Americans Against Accessing $1,000: Experts Caution ‘It’s a Bad Idea’

About the author

Author description olor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed pulvinar ligula augue, quis bibendum tellus scelerisque venenatis. Pellentesque porta nisi mi. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Etiam risus elit, molestie 

Leave a Comment