The United State Supreme Court handed down a major ruling Thursday limiting the Environment Protection Agency’s ability to regulate power plant emissions.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court is a “great win for West Virginia and her residents.” In West Virginia v U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling in a 6-3 decision. Justices determined the EPA does not have the power under the Clean Air Act to “devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting,” emphasizing the EPA does not possess any regulatory authority that Congress refused to enact. EPA must instead regulate within the express boundaries of the statute that Congress passed. “We are pleased this case returned the power to decide one of the major environmental issues of the day to the right place to decide it: the U.S. Congress, comprised of those elected by the people to serve the people,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This is about maintaining the separation of powers, not climate change. Today, the Court made the correct decision to rein in the EPA, an unelected bureaucracy. And we’re not done. My office will continue to fight for the rights of West Virginians when those in Washington try to go too far in asserting broad powers without the people’s support.” On February twenty-eighth before the high court, West Virginia and eighteen other states challenged an overbroad interpretation of the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from coal-fired plants. Among other things, the Supreme Court agreed that this new power presents such a substantially important question that an administrative agency such as EPA cannot decide it without a clear statement from Congress saying that it can.