Challenge, accepted: Supreme Court to review EPA's greenhouse gas regulations

The Obama administration has been mighty pleased with themselves and the various ways in which they have stepped up their climate-change game with impunity, mainly through aggressive regulatory maneuvering (most recently with their new plans to essentially regulate new coal-plant construction out of existence paired with their forthcoming plans to regulate existing coal plants next year).

The Obama administration has been discouraging the Supreme Court from providing a platform for the inevitable legal challenges to their emissions-capping agenda, but to no avail: The highest court in the land decided to hear out the consolidated arguments against the Environmental Protection Agency’s self-appointed practices from several industry groups, Texas, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Last year, the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against their suit challenging the EPA’s regulations, and SCOTUS is going to reexamine parts of that ruling, via the WSJ:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would consider challenges to Environmental Protect Agency limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, throwing the Obama administration’s landmark rules into a state of uncertainty. …

A three-judge panel in June 2012 upheld the agency’s finding that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide endangered public health and were likely responsible for global warming. The appeals court further upheld EPA emissions limits for new vehicles and refused to entertain the challengers’ efforts to stop the agency from phasing in emissions regulations on industrial facilities like power plants.

The Supreme Court will review part of that ruling. The justices said in a short written order that they will consider the EPA’s decision to impose greenhouse-gas permitting requirements on power plants and other stationary sources.

The justices rejected appeals to rehear the major 2007 case in which they decided that the Clean Air Act affords the EPA the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases in automobile emissions, nor will they be reviewing the petitions challenging the EPA’s conclusion that carbon emissions endanger public health and the planet; the issue at play here will be whether the “EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases,” i.e., power plants.

The Obama administration and their self-titled “environmentalist” allies will not be pleased, via Businessweek:

The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court not to take the case, saying the lower court ruling was a straightforward application of the Clean Air Act, in keeping with the deference that judges generally afford to federal administrative agencies. The clash centers on interrelated rules issued by the EPA in 2009 and 2010.

The opponents’ “policy concerns with the implementation of an intentionally broad and precautionary statutory scheme are properly addressed to Congress,” said U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, the administration’s top courtroom lawyer.

Environmental advocates and a New York-led group of 17 states joined the administration in opposing Supreme Court review.

The case will be argued in the first half of 2014 with an expected decision over the summer, and with these power-plant regulations serving as one of the main components of their grandiose and ostensible climate-change-curbing ambitions, expect the Obama administration to fight for this one tooth and nail.