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Supreme Court Ruling Empowers EPA

House GOPs: “We cannot allow EPA’s aggressive regulatory expansion to go unchecked."

by
Bill Straub

Bio

May 3, 2014 - 12:03 am
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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate emissions produced by coal-fired power plants in order to protect downwind states from deleterious effects of pollution.

The 6-2 ruling in the latest battle of what has been termed the “War on Coal” is a big victory for the Obama administration and environmental groups who maintain burning coal represents a health risk to those with respiratory problems. It also indicates the nation’s highest court is likely to side with the EPA on other issues related to their regulatory powers.

“This is great news for millions of people who suffer from serious health problems caused by the soot and smog-causing pollution from power plants in other states,” said John Walke, director of the Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Implementation of these long overdue protections will prevent thousands of premature deaths and save tens of billions of dollars a year in health costs. The EPA safeguards follow the simple principle that giant utility companies shouldn’t be allowed to dump their dirty emissions onto residents of downwind states. The Supreme Court wisely upheld this common-sense approach.”

But EPA critics maintained the decision will stifle economic development, especially in coal-producing states. Utility companies and coal producers attacked the regulation, maintaining it was unnecessarily broad and require coal-fired facilities to reduce emissions beyond what is needed.

In a joint statement, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, said the ruling represents “the latest blow to jobs and affordable energy.”

“The administration’s overreaching regulation will drive up energy costs and threaten jobs and electric reliability,” the pair said. “We cannot allow EPA’s aggressive regulatory expansion to go unchecked. We will continue our oversight of the agency and our efforts to protect American families and workers from EPA’s onslaught of costly rules.”

Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg maintained that the EPA regulation, a modified cap-and-trade system imposed on 28 states to reduce coal-fired power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, was a “permissible, workable, and equitable interpretation” of a Clean Air Act provision that authorizes the agency to protect downwind states from the pollution of upwind states, primarily in the Midwest.

The section, popularly known as the “good neighbor” provision, allows the EPA to limit emissions in certain cases.

“Some pollutants stay within upwind states’ borders, the wind carries others to downwind states, and some subset of that group drifts to states without air quality problems,” Ginsburg said.

In order to protect those downwind states, the EPA “must have leeway in fulfilling its statutory mandate,” Ginsburg held.

In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, charged that the majority essentially rewrote the “good neighbor” provision to the Obama administration’s benefit, insisting the regulatory authority sought cannot be found in the Clean Air Act.

Justice Samuel Alito recused himself from the deliberations.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy immediately embraced the decision, calling it “a resounding victory for public health and a key component of EPA’s efforts to make sure all Americans have clean air to breathe.”

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said the ruling represents “a resounding victory for public health, especially for people living downwind from coal-fired power plants in other states. For too long, these communities have shouldered an unfair burden on their health and wellbeing without the ability to protect themselves and their families from dangerous pollution.”

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Top Rated Comments   
Yes...but the EPA had been well out of control even before Obama came to office.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
And the Souterization of Roberts continues.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Moral of this story: stop waiting for the courts to save us from ourselves, Congress. Get off your duffs and start defunding these agencies and bring them to heel. Better yet, abolish them. What Nixon did can be undone.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (35)
All Comments   (35)
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The federal government has the brief to work out issues that cross state borders and pollution is quintessentially such an issue.
That doesn't mean the EPA is pursuing wise policy, or ever has. It's Congress' job to direct the EPA with legislation and the president's job to direct the policy that implements the legislation. Or Congress could eliminate the EPA, but we'd still need federal action because of the interstate nature of pollution.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe they can shut down a couple of coal fired plants here in Arizona that supply California. Win-win in my books. The greenies in Kalifornia can do without the electricity for their homes and actually live the life they claim they are for.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy immediately embraced the decision, calling it “a resounding victory for public health and a key component of EPA’s efforts to make sure all Americans have clean air to breathe.”

It is a clear victory to allow an out of control government to regulate and control the entire country with an iron fisted strangle hold. And these are folks that weren't even elected by the citizens of this country.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The House can refuse to fund the EPA, until it can be closed down, but Boehner and Co. won't do it. Just like they funded Obamacare. They rail on about things, but do nothing concrete about it.

Until this old guard is removed, and real constitutionalists are elected, things won't change. Until the state legislators, take the power back that belongs to them, by calling for an Article V. Convention of the States it won't change.

The Supreme Court is giving an agency, with no constitutional authority permission to regulate something it doesn't have the authority to regulate. Obamatown aka D.C. is a rotting corpse. The only pollution in this country, is the rotting corpse of all three branches of the federal govt. Their stench is floating all over America. It was the brain surgeons on the Supreme Court that said CO2 is a pollutant. Can you imagine that the gas we exhale, and the plants take in to give us oxygen, is a pollutant. Some God, huh? He messed up, because the Supreme Court said so. Ugh.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We will continue our oversight of the agency and our efforts to protect American families and workers from EPA’s onslaught of costly rules."

Talk is cheap. I don't expect Boehner and company to actually _do_ anything to make a difference.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
States that are overly regulated by the EPA, should just put up smoke and pollution barriers on their borders. Problem solved!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course everyone will assume their usual positions on the board, but here's what I think I know. The "bad" stuff coming from coal-fired plants does cause acid rain and some lung problems down stream, but these same sulphur "aerosols" also slow down global warming. One ugly "truth" seems to be that you could envelop the planet in an unhealthy aerosol smog, which would contribute to our deaths one way, but slow down global warming and the melting of the ice-caps. Depending on your politics, more than your science, you will accept or deny varying pieces of the above. We can get on the side of big Petro or big guvment and feel ever-so righteous in the process.
I am growing more and more convinced that our truths are a perception/belief of/in who is bad, but as for what actually works, we are wandering in an aerosol cloud. I find that truth to be self-evident. ;-)
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Seems like the 'conservative' John Roberts (what does the NSA have on this guy?) is going along with a lot of what the lefties are in favor of - thanks to George W. Bush - the Gift that Keeps on Giving.

G.W. wants his RINO brother to run for POTUS? Thanks but no thanks - shut yer pie hole already - we can get along just fine without your RINO brother.

NO MORE RINO's!!!

29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
We're asked to accept the premise that billowing black clouds of soot are rolling out of coal fired stacks and that people are dropping over left and right from the pollution. I say bull! Have you been near a coal powered plant? I have and I really doubt the premise that there is a real pollution problem. This is a war on coal and it is foundational to the left's environmental doctrine. Question the premise and then tell congress that they have to get off their "duff" and control this "religious" agency.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy orcarl
You're correct about the current state of coal burning. It's a pretty recent development, though. We've had enough affluence in the last fifty years or so to demand that the billowing clouds be tamed and they have been.
The fact is that burning coal still releases stuff we'd rather keep out of the air and the best technology still leaves some in the exhaust. We may be at the point where the cost of removing more pollutants is greater than the value of removing them. That's a legislative decision.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The EPA, by putting the "welfare" of some creatures above the existence of humans has been undermining mankind since the inception of the agency. It has cut off agricultural water use, animals grazing, living in homes established by ancestors, and many other things. People who have found medical cures or vaccines are not treasured above those who merely use. Workers at EPA have been given an enormous amount of power tp follow their often bizarre beliefs. Someone must sop them..
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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