August 18, 2022

Energy & Environment- on Power Plants, What Can the EPA Still Do?

5 min read
Energy & Environment — What can the EPA still do on power plants?

Energy & Environment — What can the EPA still do on power plants?

Today, we’ll examine some of the options the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still has available to it in light of the Supreme Court’s decision from last week as well as a separate legal action to reinstate safeguards for endangered species.

Despite the SCOTUS Decision, Epa Still Has Climate Tools.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday severely limited the EPA’s ability to enforce a 2015 rule that limited emissions from power plants, but the agency still has other resources at its disposal to reduce pollution.

The court’s conservative majority decided that the EPA lacked the jurisdiction to enforce a power plant rule from the Obama administration without express congressional consent in the 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA.

Energy & Environment — What can the EPA still do on power plants?

The EPA still has its broader ability to regulate power plant outputs to reduce emissions in accordance with the Clean Air Act, even though the decision forbids that particular strategy without approval from lawmakers.

In a political and regulatory context where every second counts, the issue, from the perspective of those who want the EPA to reduce emissions, is that in most circumstances, other regulatory procedures are less effective and more expensive.

After the decision, the EPA will continue to use many of the same strategies to combat emissions from power plants, but Michael Herz, a professor at Cardozo School of Law, believes that “the instruments the EPA has are probably inadequate.”

the same as Co-firing, which is the simultaneous burning of two types of fuel, is a substitute for generation-shifting, the strategy that the Supreme Court rejected, and can produce a more ecologically friendly final product from an existing facility.

With such a method, Lienke said, “you may still obtain fairly big emissions reductions depending on the extent of co-firing that you expect.

Energy & Environment — What can the EPA still do on power plants?

Co-firing could be a useful strategy for reducing emissions, according to 2021 modeling by Resources for the Future, but it is “almost likely not as cost-effective as generation shift,” he noted.

Another strategy is carbon capture and sequestration, which prevents carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere by storing and containing them.

However, “legislation, suitable, adequate, serious legislation” would be the safest method to support EPA power, Herz told The Hill.

THIS DECISION MAY ALSO AFFECT THE INTERNET

Democrats’ long-running campaign to reinstall Obama-era net neutrality laws may suffer as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision to limit the EPA’s authority.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) might not be able to reinstate rules prohibiting service providers from blocking or slowing websites if the same premise from the majority opinion in Thursday’s case is applied, contending that Congress must grant clear authorization for certain regulations.

Blair Levin, a policy consultant for New Street Research and the former chief of staff to FCC Chair Reed Hundt, stated that there had been a significant transfer of power from the agencies to the courts.
Levin and other experts claim that the decision’s wording leaves open the possibility of judicial review of rulemaking actions taken by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Energy & Environment — What can the EPA still do on power plants?
The conservative majority’s use of the “big questions theory,” a legal tenet, as the foundation for its 6-3 judgment is at the center of the controversy.

According to this principle, proposed rules may be challenged on the grounds that they raise a “major question” that only Congress should have the authority to resolve. It’s impossible to sugarcoat the situation and claim that this is good news for the FCC or the [Federal Trade Commission]. Or any sort of legislative action,” said Matt Wood, Free Press’ vice president of policy and general counsel.

Judge Renews Protections for Threatened Species

Tuesday saw the restoration of endangered species safeguards that had been weakened under the Trump administration.

The in question guidelines were revoked by Obama‘s appointment of Judge Jon Tigar.

What Effect Did These Regulations Have, Then?

The Fish and Wildlife Service no longer gave the same protections to species that are classified as threatened or those that are at risk of becoming endangered, as they do for species that are endangered, as a result of the Trump regulations.

In determining whether to protect a species, the regulations would also have permitted taking into account its economic effects. The guidelines’ potential to restrict consideration of climate change was another issue raised by conservationists.

  • Environmentalists, who filed the lawsuit, fiercely opposed the changes made by the Trump administration.
  • Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice, told The Hill that the goal of the Endangered Species Act is to conserve species that are in danger of going extinct.

The Trump regulations, which were now overturned, “did nothing to aid species and, in fact, did affirmative harm to how species are protected in this nation,” Boyles continued. “With today’s court decision, we return to the regulatory interpretation that had been in effect for more than 40 years.”

  • The Trump administration claimed to be “reducing the regulatory load on the American citizen” at the time the reforms were put into effect.

The legal weeds: Last year, the Biden administration requested that the court seek a second review of the Trump rules, but it did not request that the court void the modified rules in the interim.

  • It claimed that repealing the Trump regulations while it conducts a review of them “would generate confusion” because it “would abruptly alter the applicable regulatory framework and create doubt about which standards to apply.”

However, Tigar claimed that given the Biden administration had stated that it would review the restrictions, it “seems dubious” that completely getting rid of them would increase confusion.

BEZOS AND BIDEN DISAGREE ABOUT GAS PRICES

Amazon and The White House founded This weekend, Jeff Bezos engaged in a Twitter argument about petrol costs.

In a well-known phrase, President Biden urged businesses to “bring down the price you are charging at the pump.”

Energy & Environment — What can the EPA still do on power plants?

In reaction, Jeff Bezos tweeted that the White House’s claims regarding inflation were “far too serious a problem for them to keep making statements like this,” and that they might indicate “a profound ignorance of basic market dynamics.”

“It’s not surprising that you think oil and gas firms utilizing market power to collect record profits at the expense of the American people is the way our economy is intended to work,” the press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote in response.

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