A recent appeals court ruling granted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to control energy consumption across the country.
As a result, nineteen states are now attempting to limit the EPA’s authority via court action.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is representing his own state as well as leading a group of attorneys general from the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, and the governor of Mississippi has also signed on.
The 19-state coalition is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse an appeals court ruling that gave the EPA the unprecedented authority.
Morrisey contends that if the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit were left in place, the EPA would have “virtually unlimited authority to regulate wide swaths of everyday life with rules that would devastate coal mining, increase energy costs and eliminate countless jobs.” (https://wvrecord.com/stories/593830432-morrisey-leads-19-state-petition-urging-supreme-court-to-limit-epa-authority)
More specifically, the documents filed by the coalition of states assert that the lower court misinterpreted Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, granting to the EPA the ability to exercise overly broad powers to radically transform the nation’s energy grid and force states to fundamentally alter their energy sources.
The transformation would be accomplished without any legislative input from Congress, allowing the federal agency to alter virtually any and all sectors of the economy, including factories, power plants, small businesses, and residential housing, with coal mining and natural gas production being placed in jeopardy.
The coalition argues that if the High Court were to delay a review, this would likely lead to even more significant and irreparable damage while simultaneously forcing states to invest time and resources into uncertain enterprises.
Back in 2015, Morrisey had filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over a policy that sought to severely cut carbon emissions, alleging that the implementation of such a policy exceeded the EPA’s mandate.
Morrisey’s legal actions resulted in the Supreme Court issuing a stay, which prevented the policy from being rolled out. However, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the ruling, thus opening the door for the incoming administration to implement even wider-reaching carbon reduction policies.
The petition of Morrisey and the other attorneys general alleges that the appeals court ignored the rationale for the Supreme Court stay.
The new petition comes as the current administration has announced the most excessive climate initiatives in history, with an intended goal of cutting U.S. carbon emissions in half by the year 2030 and ultimately reaching zero carbon emissions by 2035.
Morrisey spoke against the White House target goals, arguing that the change would have a negative economic impact that would be detrimental to our nation’s international energy standing and calling the emissions cut “a self-inflicted wound to our economy and our national security.” (https://ago.wv.gov/Documents/Statement%20of%20West%20Virginia%20Patrick%20Morrisey%20on%20President%20Biden’s%20Climate%20Plan.pdf)
Critics of the administration’s aggressive carbon reduction plans point out that China and other major polluters will continue to increase their emissions, which will presumably undercut any carbon reductions by the U.S., while at the same time increasing electricity and energy costs for all Americans.
Critics also voice concerns for the segments of our country that rely on fossil fuels and related industries, asserting that these areas would be disproportionately affected by such severe reductions.
If West Virginia’s top law enforcement official and the attorneys general from the coalition of states are successful in convincing the Supreme Court to accept the case, our nation’s people will witness the biggest legal battle involving climate change policy that has occurred in over a decade.
This is the kind of court proceeding that will potentially expose the judicial philosophy of each of the justices on the Supreme Court.
It will also likely define the judicial branch itself and, in the end, determine whether our nation takes the road not traveled.