(PresidentialInsider.com)- The Supreme Court will soon hear four cases that are very similar, all dealing with climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to enforce changes.
It’s likely that the four cases will be consolidated into one case called West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. The litigation originated over a bold effort initiated under former President Barack Obama called the Clean Power Plan.
The plan hasn’t been implemented yet, but it’s still hanging around, being tossed back and forth in court. In January, a federal appeals court allowed the plan to come back to life. But one month later, the Biden administration said it wouldn’t reinstate that policy.
Despite this fact, petitioners in the case want the high court to rule that the Act doesn’t authorize Obama’s plan. They are at the same time calling for new limits to be placed on the Act that would restrict the EPA’s ability to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future — and in a significant way.
Some of the plaintiffs in the case are even saying it’s unconstitutional for the agency to take aggressive moves to correct climate change. If the high court were to agree with their stance, then it may strip the EPA of its ability to fight climate change, and also remove some power for doing so from Congress.
Some legal experts are very concerned about this upcoming case, for more reasons than just climate change. They say that a decision in favor of the plaintiffs could have far-reaching consequences.
They say the government could be stripped of any power over diverse issues such as environmental protection, workplace safety, overtime pay, vaccination and access to birth control.
One ruling by the Supreme Court, they argue, could undo, weaken or deactivate hundreds of federal laws that are already on the books. Many of these laws would be wiped away from the books, forcing a very divided Congress to try to come to a compromise to re-enact what laws they wanted.
At least one conservative justice, Neil Gorsuch, has championed a plan that would shrink the power that federal agencies have — and that’s exactly at the crux of this West Virginia case. It’s unclear how many of the other justices agree with his viewpoints, and how that could affect the outcome of this case’s decision.
The petitioners in the case are firmly behind the environmental policies of former President Donald Trump. They are hoping that they are entrenched into official government policy, and are hoping to keep it that way for the long haul.
Those fighting for these policies are conservative-leaning states, mining interests and power companies. They are arguing that the EPA doesn’t have the power to require a shift away from coal-based power and to energy-generating methods that are cleaner.
That, of course, would hurt their business completely, as energy production would shift to natural resources such as wind and solar power, as well as natural gas.