SCOTUS Prepares to Hear Challenge to EPA Climate Rule

( – The Supreme Court will hear a challenge against the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and its “good neighbor plan.” The plan was announced in March with the intention to curb nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants and industrial manufacturing facilities. The current plan, if allowed to stand, would restrict emissions standards on 23 states considered upwind to avoid air pollution on downwind states. The court will hear arguments in February 2024.

The EPA itself said that the plan would cost American businesses close to a billion dollars per year in compliance costs, with particular impact on midwestern states. The agency claims that it would save lives and decrease hospital visits while stimulating the economy.

The EPA claims the Clean Air Act gives them the authority to enact the “good neighbor plan,” and that they’ve complied with the law. Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is one of the leading plaintiffs in the case and he argued in court documents that the EPA is attempting to “twist the Clean Air Act” beyond its intended purpose to grant themselves additional authority.

Multiple states are challenging the rule-change and they’ve offered additional arguments against it citing a potential to disrupt the power grid, as well as imposing unreasonable costs on companies. The rule change targets industrial producers of cement, steel, and iron as well as natural gas pipelines and other manufacturers.

If the Supreme Court rules against the EPA it would be the second time in the last few years they’ve slammed the agency for illegally expanding its authority. SCOTUS shot down the EPA’s arguments that they could regulate all bodies of water within the U.S. using the “navigable waters” clause of the Clean Water Act in June 2022.

The case ruled unanimously against the EPA in Sackett v. EPA, where the agency was attempting to regulate how the plaintiffs used temporary wetlands that appeared on their property during rainy seasons. The court ruled that only wetlands indistinguishable from natural bodies of water are covered by the clause, and it does not include areas that flood.

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