Oct 29, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Supreme Court to consider limiting EPA authority on greenhouse gas emissions

Photo of a set of doors to a building with a sign that says "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency" on the exterior
Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to weigh in on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority when it comes to regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Why it matters: It's the most significant climate case to reach the Supreme Court since 2007 and could impact the Biden administration's clean power plans, according to E&E News.

Details: Coal companies and GOP-led states had asked the Supreme Court to review the case, arguing that a federal appeals court gave the EPA "unbridled power" to issue standards that would be "impossible for coal and natural gas power plants to meet."

  • President Biden's EPA is currently crafting new clean air regulations.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: The case puts even more pressure on reconciliation to address climate change legislatively in case executive authority is trimmed back further.

The big picture: The electricity sector generates the second-largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., per the EPA.

  • Roughly 62% of U.S. electricity is sourced from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas.
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