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Policy: Law

Supreme Court to rule on EPA global warming regulations

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Beltway Confidential,Supreme Court,EPA,Ashe Schow,Energy and Environment,Global Warming,Law

Opponents to the Environmental Protection Agency's global warming regulations will get their day in court, as the Supreme Court said Tuesday it would review the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Specifically, the Supreme Court will determine “whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gasses.”

In other words, whether the EPA can regulate greenhouse gases from power plants.

In a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, the EPA was granted the authority to regulate vehicle emissions of greenhouse gasses. The EPA used that ruling to justify regulating power plants starting in 2009 when President Obama took office, and since then, 138 coal plants have shut down and 207 are slated to close in the next decade.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity responded to the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments by saying it was an “important step” toward striking down the regulations.

“ACCCE continues to oppose EPA’s use of the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” ACCCE spokeswoman Laura Sheehan said. “EPA’s carbon regulations for the coal fleet will be economically damaging, while having no practical effect on global climate change.”

The EPA in September 2013 proposed the New Source Performance Standards, a regulation that would require newly built to install expensive and unproven Carbon Capture Systems to reduce emissions. The rule would limit coal plant emissions to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour for large plants and 1,100 pounds per hour for smaller plants. The current average is 1,700 pounds per hour, meaning the EPA is forcing a 60-percent reduction.

The current proposal admits that it would not have any “notable” reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA will also propose new regulations for existing coal plants in June 2014.

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