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Supreme Court Upholds Factory GHG Emissions Limits

industrial plant emissionsThe US Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the EPA reasonably interpreted the Clean Air Act to require large industrial facilities and power plants to limit their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses if they are also required to obtain permits due to their emissions of other dangerous air pollutants.

The high court rejected arguments from industry and some states that these limits on climate change pollution are unworkable.

At the same time, the decision held that the EPA could not extend permitting requirements to sources that emit only climate change pollution and not other dangerous pollutants.

The industrial facilities at issue in this case are new plants, including power plants, refineries and cement kilns, and plants undergoing major modification that increase emissions. The rule does not apply to smaller businesses, the court said.

The National Association of Manufacturers called the ruling a victory for “rational limits on executive power. The Supreme Court agreed with the NAM that the EPA may not regulate the entire economy by requiring burdensome new permits for millions of small and medium-sized manufacturers, schools, hospitals, office buildings, churches, warehouses and other buildings,” NAM senior vice president and general counsel Linda Kelly said.

The decision is also a victory for the Obama administration as it seeks to use the Clean Air Act to combat climate change, Vickie Patton, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund, told the Los Angeles Times. It’s a “big win” for the EPA’s efforts to regulate new power plants, and also for the proposed rules issued earlier this month that would curb pollution from existing power plants.

Photo Credit: industrial plant emissions via Shutterstock

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2 thoughts on “Supreme Court Upholds Factory GHG Emissions Limits

  1. When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he stated that under his plan “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”.
    We elected him.
    He is keeping his promise.

  2. Electricity rates are not ‘skyrocketing’. Furthermore, most electric rate increases are tied to the increasing cost of fossil fuels as well as to the recouping of costs to maintain and to modernize the grid. Renewable energy is not a significant contributor to electric rate increases.
    In fact, wind energy has resulted in lower electric rates on spot markets and also notably within large networks like ERCOT for example.
    Finally, the EPA (under the Bush administration) was sued to force it to act on GHG emissions, and the SCOTUS ruled that the EPA must in fact take action under the Clean Air Act. This recent EPA action is not even attributable directly to President Obama…

    GHG limits for existing and new power plants is a win-win for the environment and for the economy (not to mention for our society and for our future).

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