Opinion: Morning Examiner

Supreme Court says regulatory law means whatever EPA says it means, today

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Supreme Court,Institute for Energy Research,EPA

Ever heard of the U.S. Supreme Court's Plessy v Ferguson ruling in 1896? That's the one where the guys in the black robes upheld "separate but equal" *accommodations on public facilities like trains.

Or how about the Dred Scott case in 1857? Most Americans have probably heard of that one because it said slaves had no standing to sue in federal court because they weren't citizens.

There have been other terrible Supreme Court rulings, but those two stand out on everybody's lists. Fortunately, the nation's highest court can and does undo its previous mistakes in subsequent rulings.

Now comes Arch Coal

On Monday, the court declined to accept an appeal from Arch Coal of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's reversal of its 2007 issuance of a 2011 Clean Water Act permit for the company's Spruce Mine operation in West Virginia.

By refusing to hear the appeal, the court upheld EPA's authority to change its mind on a regulatory permit decision, even though doing so inflicts substantial financial and other losses on appellants.

The court's denial also creates a damaging new regulatory uncertainty because it casts potential doubt on the legitimacy on any federal permitting decision, not just those by EPA under the Clean Water Act.

Carte blanche regulation?

Higher costs and regulatory uncertainty may not be the worst results of the decision, according to Dan Kish, senior vice president of the Institute for Energy Research.

"The Court has decided it agrees with a lower court that said the EPA can veto a permit if EPA changes its mind. This gives EPA too much deference and ignores EPA's dishonest dealings.

"One of EPA's head regulators is now in jail because of his fraudulent activities and EPA refuses to provide Congress and the American people with the science it uses to justify expensive regulations while using fake aliases and outside email addresses to avoid FOIA.

"Anyone familiar with EPA’s growing record of fabricating whatever justification it takes to gain bigger budgets and more power knows this is a ‘blank check’ for an agency whose actions now threaten everything anyone does anywhere, according to the Supreme Court’s interpretation."

So, how long will it be before the court undoes the damage it has done with Arch Coal?

* This post has been corrected from its original version which said Plessy v Ferguson applied to public schools. It should have said the 1896 decision was reversed by the 1954 Brown v Board of Education decision which applied to public schools.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: Desperate on Keystone XL? Throw mud at the Kochs.

Columnist/Gene Healy: A former insane asylum is a fitting place for the mess that is DHS.

Columnist/Cal Thomas: Fred Phelps was a prophet of a counterfeit religion.

Columnist/Byron York: GOP finds unwinding Obamacare vexing now that it's rooting.

Op-eds/Melanie Sturm: Opposing lawlessness at home and abroad.

Op-eds/Rich Zeoli: Does Eric Holder care that votes against Pennsylvania's voter ID law were bought?

Beltway Confidential/Sean Higgins: AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka challenges Heritage's Jim DeMint to minimum wage debate.

PennAve/Zack Colman: Congress takes up natural gas exports, with focus on Democrats.

Legal Newsline/Kyla Asbury: Coca-Cola faces class-action suit on advertising, labeling.

In other news

ABC News/The Note: Obama to call for end to NSA data collection.

CBS News: Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby case revisits divisive social issues.

The Washington Post: Harry Reid says GOP helped Russia annex Crimea.

The New York Times: GM misled grieving families on ignition fault.

Time Magazine: Business lobby ignores Hobby Lobby cause as case goes to Supreme Court.

USA Today: Google Glass to get Ray-Ban, Oakley makeovers.

Righty Playbook

Daily Caller: Where's Lois Lerner?

The American Spectator: World Vision goes liberal.

American Thinker: Gallup poll predicts Dem midterm wipeout.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: Six newspaper lies on the Supreme Court and contraception mandates.

Lefty Playbook

Salon.com: Yale tells students to keep Kissinger talk secret.

New Republic: The Obamacare benefit that gets no respect.

Daily Beast: U.S. keeps Saudi Arabia's worst secret.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: Is liberalism good for your health?

Blog Right

Hot Air: Will ordination doctrine "drive a mass exodus" from the Catholic Church?

Jammie Wearing Fools: Shady David Brock group uses Al Sharpton in Koch-attack ad.

American Power: Angela Merkel and Europe seek harder line on Russia.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: John Boehner office's says Harry Reid "completely unhinged" with Ukraine remark.

Talk Left: Colorado supreme court loosens restrictions on lawyers helping pot businesses.

Fire Dog Lake: Blown lines.

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