Supreme Court rules that EPA exceeded their authority in seeking to limit emissions from coal plants;

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In a blockbuster 6-3 decision penned by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court said the Environmental Protection Agency had overstepped when it devised the Obama-era regulatory scheme, known as the Clean Power Plan.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” the chief justice wrote, faulting the EPA for finding new powers in “the vague language of a long-extant, but rarely used, statute.”

Beyond the EPA, the decision is likely to rein in President Biden’s ability to use other departments and regulators such as the Treasury Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to address climate change, one of his signature policy initiatives.

Mr. Biden called the court’s ruling “a devastating decision that aims to take our country backwards.”

Department of Justice and affected agencies to review this decision carefully and find ways that we can, under federal law, continue protecting Americans from harmful pollution, including pollution that causes climate change,” Mr. Biden said.

The principle articulated by the court, known as the “major questions doctrine,” was mentioned in earlier cases but is being recognized more explicitly now, said Gautam Hans, a law professor at Vanderbilt University.

“The court has now really explicitly relied on this doctrine to limit the EPA’s authority, and other regulatory agencies are going to be more cautious now that they have to navigate this,” Mr. Hans said.

With Congress often mired in gridlock, Mr. Biden and his Democratic predecessors have used regulation instead of legislation to advance their policy agendas, Mr. Hans said.

“Now it’s going to be much harder for those agency rules to survive judicial scrutiny,” he added.

The EPA ruling is similar to the court’s decision on the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers.

In that ruling, from January, the justices said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had exceeded its authority.

“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the majority said in an unsigned opinion.

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