Supreme Court Accepts Challenges to Obama's Proposed Environmental Regulations

Legal Compliance Resource
October 16, 2013 — 1,032 views  

The environmental regulations proposed by President Obama have had a spanner thrown at them. The Supreme Court has allowed a challenge to the new regulations from as many as six parties. This could potentially derail the EPA's plans to prevent climate change.

Relation to the EPA and the Clean Air Act

Of the petitioners, the State of Texas and the Chamber of Commerce are most prominent. Of all the questions though, only one is going to be considered. Whether or not the EPA's regulation of new motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions triggered requirements for greenhouse gas emitting stationary sources under provisions of the Clean Air Act. This means that the Supreme Court is going to examine whether in trying to regulate car emissions, the EPA has given itself power to enforce regulations on institutions such as power plants. Three other petitions that were filed were already rejected by the Supreme Court.

A Positive Way to Look at it

One way to look at this is that at least the questions have been minimized and for some, this is a good sign. A spokesperson from the Natural Resources Defense Council had a more positive take on the matter. She said that the way they looked at it, the Supreme court had rejected petitions from big polluters and some states on whether the EPA was authorized to limit the emission of greenhouse gases by vehicles and other sources of such pollutants, when it is seen that the pollution is endangering public welfare or health.

The Repercussions on the EPA's Efforts to Control Pollution

However, the question that was taken up could affect the EPA's efforts to limit the amount of carbon natural gas or coal plants put off into the atmosphere. In a previous ruling, the Supreme Court had ruled that carbon was a pollutant and it could be covered under the Clean Air Act.

President Obama had presented his plan to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in late June. He has also moved on a plan that will encourage the use of renewable energy, with pollution due to fossil fuels. The plan also has its share of critics. Some are saying that the plan has ineffective regulations, while others are saying that it relies on inadequately tested technology for carbon capture. Reuters has reported that the Supreme Court will take up arguments on the matter in early 2014 and it is expected to give a ruling by 2014.

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