Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to clean the nation’s water and air in 1970. He probably didn’t know it would grow into the 800-pound gorilla government. We are here 52 years later after all that mission-creep. The Supreme Court will now decide if the EPA bureaucrats, who are not elected by Congress, have greater power to control key aspects of the U.S. economic system.
The case of West Virginia v EPA pits the coal state, North Dakota, and several other Republican-dominated, energy-producing states against the Left Coast, Messed Coast states of California, Washington, and Oregon, along with several energy companies that have bought into the EPA’s Obama-era Clean Power Plan that requires states to cut power-plant emissions by 2030. Due to a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision, that rule has not been implemented.
The Clean Power Plan was repealed by the Trump Administration in 2019. Instead, they created the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE) which gave states greater flexibility to set power plant and greenhouse gas standards. In fact, the Clean Power Plan’s original emissions standards had already been met by Trump Administration policies and market forces.
The deep state stepped in to take action. SCOTUSblog reports that Trump’s last day as an official was marked by the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, which vacated Trump’s Clean Power Plan repeal, vacated ACE Rule, and sent the matter back to the EPA for further proceedings.
The U.S. Supreme Court is now deciding the power play. The energy states claim that the lower court allowed the EPA to dictate policy without any oversight, subsuming Congress’s power under “major questions”, and “nondelegation” policies.
On Monday, the court heard arguments about who should make important decisions that could affect large swathes of the U.S. industry: Congressmen or EPA bureaucrats.
Steve Milloy is the founder and former Trump transition team member. He stated in an email that he was encouraged by the fact that the justices were in agreement that Congress had not explicitly allowed EPA to regulate greenhouse gasses under that section. However, Justices Breyer Kagan, Sotomayor, and Justices Kagan seemed to be inclined to find a way for EPA to be given authority under vague and broad language in the Clean Air Act.
Some power companies took the EPA’s (and Biden Administration’s) side in this case. It comes down to sticking to the bureaucrats that they are used to, rather than the wildcards of Congress. According to Alex Bond, general counsel at the Edison Electric Institute, an executive said that Congress dealings with them would lead to chaos. “Instead of EPA using its world of experts authority to create regulations,” he stated.
This case could not be more dramatic. America became energy independent after Donald Trump’s departure. This was the first time that America had been this self-sufficient in over 70 years. In his first days in office, Joe Biden decimated that. Biden shut down the Keystone Pipeline, putting thousands out of work, and declared that the country would reduce its emissions by 50% by 2030. He also stopped drilling in Alaska’s abundant ANWR reserves. And just last week, when Americans were faced with nearly $5.00 per gallon gasoline, he stopped all federal reserve drilling. Now Russia has invaded Ukraine in an energy-related war.
Biden’s ineptitude and choices have made everything, all things more expensive. Americans could benefit from a break from this authoritarian regime in a country suffering from COVID shutdowns, supply chain back-ups, and firings for the unvaccinated.
Biden’s fellow travelers are like ticks in EPA. It is only a wish that Americans could have someone standing up for them, rather than putting the green millstone around our necks. The working stiffs who vote are accountable to Congress.