The National Mining Association (NMA) has welcomed the US Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot pass sweeping regulations that could overhaul entire industries without additional congressional approval.
The 6-3 ruling interpreting the US Clean Air Act sided with conservative states and fossil fuel companies, limiting how far the EPA can go in forcing new environmental regulations.
The West Virginia vs EPA case centred on a 2015 EPA regulation under the Obama administration, called the Clean Power Plan, aimed at limiting greenhouse gases from power plants. The rule never came into effect as it was halted by the Supreme Court in 2016, then replaced under the Trump administration with a weaker regulation, which in turn was struck down by a federal court in 2021.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who delivered the court’s opinion in the case, said that capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that would force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity might be a sensible “solution to the crisis of the day”, but that it was not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt its own such regulatory scheme.
“A decision of such magnetite and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” he wrote.
The ruling is seen by many as a blow to President Joe Biden’s climate change agenda.
Washington-headquartered NMA, which represents more than 250 corporations and organisations involved in various aspects of mining, said that it was pleased with the ruling that limited the authority that administrative agencies had to unilaterally issue transformative rules.
“While many would have liked to label this as a case about climate, it is not; it is a case about the authority of government agencies and the economic impacts to the states and all Americans when that authority is abused.
“Climate change is real and must be addressed, but not by running roughshod over the boundaries established around delegated powers,” the NMA stated.