Supreme Court Limits EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule

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The United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 overturning part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPAs) permitting program for greenhouse gas emissions. The opinion in the case of Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA determined that EPA had gone beyond its limits in requiring stationary sources to obtain air pollution permits and install pollution controls. The court also determined that part of the regulation does not comply with the Clean Air Act (CAA), as EPA revised numeric thresholds for greenhouse gases that forced power plants, industrial facilities, and factories to obtain a permit. Justice Scalia stated that the regulations allow EPA to regulate 83% of greenhouse gas emissions, rather than the 86% originally in the regulation. The majority of the court upheld the portion of the regulation that requires “anyway” sources, “those that would need permits based on their emissions of more conventional pollutants,” to comply with best available control technology (BACT) requirements for greenhouse gas emissions.