The Obama administration has been making headlines in recent weeks by expanding the regulatory powers of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the president's final few years in office. While the goals of reducing the country's overall carbon emissions by 30 percent within the next 15 years have not been put into action yet, the Supreme Court limited the only program already in place designed to help the environment.
On the morning of Monday, June 23, the Supreme Court announced its split ruling in the case of Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. In the court's 5-4 decision, the conservative wing of the court ruled that the Obama administration had overstepped its legal authority with its interpretation of the Clean Air Act. The EPA lacks the power to force companies to apply for greenhouse gas emissions permits if they are in an industry that does not require federal government oversight.
While this decision has certainly been a blow to the environmental movement, it is not all bad news – this ruling will not affect the Obama administration's plans to create first-time national standards of greenhouse gas emissions for new and existing power plants. The court ruled that the EPA does have the legal authority to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions from industries that are required to get permits for their pollutants.
Although the court did not come to a complete consensus in this case, Justice Antonin Scalia – writing for the majority – says that the EPA was, "Getting almost everything it wanted in this case." According to Scalia, the EPA will still be able to regulate 83 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions under this ruling, instead of the original goal of 86 percent.
If you are a Virginia resident interested in reducing the amount of power your home consumes, make an appointment for an energy audit today with Alban Inspections!