The EPA & the Supreme Court: Time for a slap
The Supreme Court can take advantage of an important environmental regulation case to slap the Obama administration for yet again freelancing the rule of law.
Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA concerns whether the Environmental Protection Agency is exceeding its authority by trying to regulate so-called “greenhouse gases” from stationary sources — mainly power plants and factories. The agency wants to expand upon its authority — upheld in 2007's Massachusetts v. EPA — to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and to regulate vehicle emissions.
Never mind that the Clean Air Act doesn't address CO2 and specifies annual stationary emissions of 100 or 250 tons of other pollutants as thresholds for requiring permits. Applied to vastly greater CO2 emissions, those thresholds would make permits necessary for 6 million stationary sources — including schools, hospitals, office and apartment buildings and even large homes. So, the EPA seeks to rewrite the Clean Air Act by arbitrarily setting the CO2 permitting threshold at 75,000 or 100,000 tons.
Monday's oral arguments suggested the justices might allow the EPA to regulate carbon emissions only from stationary sources already subject to permitting for other pollutants. But even that outcome would give King Obama too much leeway to continue ruling by decree.
What's needed is an unambiguous decision that upholds the rule of law and the letter of the Clean Air Act — and declares unequivocally that the EPA is exceeding its authority.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.