Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can regulate greenhouse gas emission from stationary sources like power plants but not from new or modified industrial facilities.
The ruling supported by seven or majority of the justices covers sources that require EPA permits in the emission of conventional pollutants. That includes coal-fired power plants and refineries.
The EPA welcomed the decision seeing it as an affirmation of its authority. The ruling allows EPA to continue to require carbon pollution limits in permits for the largest pollution sources, according to the agency’s spokeswoman, Liz Purchia.
The justices also voted 5-4 to rule that the EPA exceeded its authority by changing the emissions threshold for greenhouse gases in the Clean Air Act to regulate more stationary sources. The ruling said only Congress can do such action.
Under the Clean Air Act, sources that emit 100 to 250 tons of pollutants are covered by EPA regulations. But the threshold, when applied to greenhouse gases, would require the regulation of millions of sources of pollution, including small businesses and homes. To cover fewer facilities, EPA raise the statutory emissions threshold to 75,000 to 100,000 tons per year prompting states and industry groups to challenge the regulations for being burdensome and costly.