- Professor Jonathan Adler, Case Western Law
In its new “Waters of the United States” rule, the EPA has substantially increased the scope of its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. Dozens of states, trade associations, and private companies have challenged the rule in federal courts across the country. A federal judge in North Dakota recently issued an injunction against the rule just before it was scheduled to take effect. Michael Park of Consovoy McCarthy Park, who represent several of the parties in this litigation, discussed the rule, the status of the litigation, and where things could go from here.
On June 29, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency. The question in this case is whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted unreasonably when it did not consider the costs of compliance in determining whether it was appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Scalia, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that the EPA acted unreasonably when it treated the costs of compliance as irrelevant. The judgment of the D.C. Circuit was reversed and the case remanded.
Chief Justice Roberts, as well as Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion, which justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor joined.
To discuss the case, we have Andrew Grossman, who is an associate at the law firm BakerHostetler.
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