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The Supreme Court on Thursday sharply cut back the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to reduce the carbon output of existing power plants, a blow to President Biden’s commitment to battle climate change.
The vote was 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the court’s conservatives.
“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’ ” Roberts wrote, referring to a court precedent. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme.”
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the dissenters, countered: “Today, the Court strips the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the power Congress gave it to respond to ‘the most pressing environmental challenge of our time,’ ” referring to another precedent.
The court was considering the powers granted by the Clean Air Act, which was written decades ago, before climate change was widely recognized as a worldwide crisis.
(The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, when a Republican was the president. The is another example of the court taking us backwards 50 years - and Clarence Thomas just reversed a New York gun law that had been in place more than 100 years.