NewsPolitics

Actions

Looking ahead to upcoming climate rulings from the Supreme Court

Decisions coming soon could drastically limit the rules that federal agencies in Washington can craft, especially related to climate change.
1630582769_7e9jcO.jpg
Posted at
and last updated

The country is expecting another round of blockbuster rulings from the Supreme Court, including on climate cases.

There are two phrases you should familiarize yourself with: The "Chevron doctrine" and the "good neighbor plan." Both could be struck down by the Supreme Court soon.

If that happens, it could drastically limit the rules that federal agencies in Washington can craft, especially related to climate change.

The Chevron doctrine gives deference to agencies to interpret laws and issue rules like the "good neighbor plan," which is the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to regulate pollution in 23 states.

Some states, like Ohio, have challenged that status quo, saying the rules put undue pressure on electrical grids and that the EPA lacks the authority.

"I certainly think EPA's rules will be ripe for reconsideration if Chevron is cut back or overruled," said Jonathan Siegel, a law professor at George Washington University.

Siegel says that if Chevron is struck down it could have a major impact on what the EPA can do, but he cautions that we may have to wait a while to understand what the impact will be.

Alison LaCroix, a law professor at the University of Chicago, paints a different picture.

She believes the ruling could drastically change the ability of the federal government to issue any regulation, including climate-related ones.

"This could really dismantle the federal administrative state," LaCroix said.

If the upcoming Supreme Court opinions strike down or make it easier to challenge rules related to climate change, it could make it harder for President Biden to issue new rules in a hypothetical second term. On the other side, the upcoming opinion could make it easier for former President Trump to roll back actions if he is elected.

Former President Trump rolled back around 100 environmental regulations during his term.