- Becky Norton Dunlop, The Heritage Foundation
On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court limited the power of the EPA. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA can regulate, as a stationary source of emissions, power plants only if EPA concludes that "regulation is appropriate and necessary." The Court, in a split decision, held that the EPA acted unreasonably when it deemed cost of the regulations irrelevant when it decided to regulate power plants. But what does that mean for the EPA? Will the decision have an impact for other regulatory agencies?
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new regulations for CO2 emission reductions from existing power plants. The proposal requires states to implement the Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Proponents argue that it is an essential measure to protect vital natural resources; opponents argue that it will be massively costly and logistically difficult to implement (particularly given the timeframes required in the proposed regulations), and that it robs the states of their sovereign power. Our panel of experts will discuss the underlying legal authority for EPA’s proposal, the appropriate federalism model for regulation of CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act, and the policy implications.
This panel was presented on June 18, 2015, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC during the Third Annual Executive Branch Review Conference.
The Clean Power Plan: A Bridge too Far?
9:40 – 11:10 a.m.
June 18, 2015
In what has become a highly visible challenge to the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act, the D.C. Court of Appeals heard oral argument on April 16, 2015. The case is being viewed by some as a fundamental test of executive authority and the judiciary’s willingness to evaluate and rein in possible overreach. Is the rule, now in proposed form, ripe for challenge, at least in part because compliance with the rule requires a great deal of planning and expense even before its adoption? Has the EPA overreached and, if so, will the court intervene? Or has the EPA properly utilized its statutory rulemaking authority for what all parties indicate will be an important change in the way coal-fired power plants are able to operate?
On January 9, 2015, the Nebraska Supreme Court held that the law dictating the potential path of the Keystone XL pipeline through the state was not unconstitutional. President Obama previously cited the pending lawsuit as a reason to delay making an approval decision on the controversial pipeline project. Nebraska’s former Deputy Attorney General Katie Spohn argued the case, and she joined a Teleforum conference call to discuss the decision and potential upcoming Keystone XL litigation.