It’s been a hectic month for Supreme Court rulings. Monumental rulings on life issues, the Second Amendment and religious liberty have now been followed by West Virginia vs. EPAa move that has major implications for vetting runaway regulators and for the economy.
In short, the Supreme Court close the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to completely revamp Americans’ electricity sources around a sweeping climate agenda based on the agency’s broad interpretation of a narrow Clean Air Act provision.
In doing so, the Supreme Court made it harder for other regulators to get away with similar power grabs.
To appreciate the implications of this decision, first consider the things you did this morning to prepare for the day. Your phone or clock alarm has gone off. The shower was just the right temperature. Your coffee was hot and the cream was cold. Your clothes are more likely to match due to a well-lit room. And you may have turned on a computer to start the work day, all because of electricity.
Americans are extremely lucky to often take everything that happens behind the scenes for granted when they plug something into an outlet. Whether you think about it or not, energy is essential to health, well-being and Economic opportunityand he was a driver in the dramatic decrease mortality and extreme poverty over the last century.
This potential for productivity and growth of individuals, families, businesses, communities and entire economies is why energy policy matters and why high energy prices matter. corrosive.
Now imagine if a single federal agency of unelected bureaucrats had a determining influence on the composition of the electricity sector. This agency would not only influence the power plants, but the economy. This was the occasion for the Supreme Court hearing in West Virginia v. EPA.
At stake in this case was the so-called Clean Energy Plan and its power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the entire electricity sector. The Clean Power Plan established mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a cap-and-trade system designed to shut down coal and natural gas plants in favor of renewables.
Almost 60% of Americans’ electricity today comes from natural gas and coal-fired power plants, which emit greenhouse gases.
In other words, the EPA has put itself squarely in the position of setting energy and economic policy under the guise of environmental policy while enjoying near absolute power to do so.
One of the plan’s many consequences was that the EPA completely ignored important considerations, such as network reliability, affordability, consumer choice, and state responsibilities. Instead, the EPA’s sole interest was to regulate the grid to achieve then-President Barack Obama’s radical climate agenda of demanding a transition from conventional energy to politically correct renewable energy.
If the court on Thursday upheld near-unlimited authority for the EPA to regulate the network, EPA Biden was set to follow up with its own version as the centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s unilateral commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Heritage Foundation modeling estimates trillions of dollars in damage to the entire economy and to American families, and with no environmental benefit, whether as a result of the of the Obama administration Clean Power Plan or a possible Biden version. (The Daily Signal is the medium of the Heritage Foundation.)
In this sense, the court’s 6 to 3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA is very good news for electricity consumers across the country, who are now protected against the EPA’s unlimited and inexplicable interference in their electricity bills.
However, in many ways, protecting against these consequences is an important but secondary issue to whether Congress even gave the EPA the power to do so.
The court correctly determined that the EPA has gone well beyond its role by creating for itself an authority to regulate the electricity sector, and with it a major component of the bedrock of the American economy.
In other words, how the EPA tried to regulate greenhouse gas emissions mattered a lot.
That’s why people on both sides of the aisle and of opposing beliefs about global warming have opposed the EPA’s regulatory attempts.
When the Obama administration first released the Clean Power Plan, Laurence Tribe – Obama’s former law professor at Harvard –eloquently describes the deep issues with the rule:
At its core, the question the Clean Power Plan asks is whether the EPA is bound by the rule of law and must operate within the framework established by the United States Constitution. …
Accordingly, the EPA gamble would mean that citizens give up their right to be represented by an accountable and responsive government that accords with the assumptions of federalism.
The tribe called it a “sleight of hand [that] offends democratic principles by avoiding political transparency and accountability.
What West Virginia v. EPA reminds us is that America is not run by an irresponsible king in the White House and his regulatory officials, but rather by elected American officials in partnership with the states.
This expressed will is simply implemented by the executive power, and not the other way around.
Do you have an opinion on this article ? To chime in, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider posting your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” column. Don’t forget to include the URL or title of the article as well as your name and city and/or state.