U.S. SC to hear challenge to EPA's greenhouse gas regulations

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the Obama administration's greenhouse gas regulations.

According to a 15-page order list released Tuesday, the nation's high court granted Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's petition for writ of certiorari.

In April, Abbott and the attorneys general of 11 other states asked the court to review the legality of the administration's greenhouse gas environmental regulatory scheme.

In its petition, the states argued that the federal Environmental Protection Agency violated the U.S. Constitution as well as the federal Clean Air Act by "concocting" its greenhouse gas regulations without Congressional authorization.

The states contend that the EPA ignored Congress' law-making role by rewriting federal laws through administrative rule-making.

The states want the Supreme Court to overturn the administration's "attempts to unilaterally implement policies in the absence of congressionally delegated authority" and to "rein in a usurpatious agency and remind the President and his subordinates that they cannot rule by executive decree."

"The EPA's illegal regulations threaten Texas jobs and Texas employers," Abbott said in a statement Tuesday.

"As Texas has proven in other lawsuits against the EPA, this is a runaway federal agency, so we are pleased the Obama administration will have to defend its lawless regulations before the U.S. Supreme Court."

The other 11 states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality also is a petitioner.

The Supreme Court granted the petitions for writs of certiorari in five other, related cases: Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA; American Chemistry Council, et al. v. EPA, et al.; Energy-Intensive Manufacturers v. EPA, et al.; Southeastern Legal Foundation v. EPA, et al.; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. EPA, et al.

However, the high court granted the petitions limited to the following question:

"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 gases."

The court has consolidated the cases, and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument.

"Manufacturers are pleased with the Supreme Court's decision to review the EPA's greenhouse gas regulations from stationary sources -- one of the most costly, complex and harmful regulatory issues facing manufacturers and threatening our global competitiveness," National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement Tuesday.

"Without congressional engagement or approval, and through a severely flawed interpretation of the Clean Air Act, the EPA has invented an unauthorized regulatory universe that the agency itself admits leads to 'absurd results.'

"These regulations will be felt not only by the nation's energy providers and manufacturers, but they also threaten to impose new stringent permitting requirements for millions of stationary sources, which will impact every aspect of our economy."

The Washington Legal Foundation, which filed its own amicus brief urging that review of Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA be granted, said the EPA has "opened a Pandora's Box" of expansive greenhouse gas regulation that is likely to spread to the entire economy.

"It is therefore vitally important that the court has taken this case to clarify the intended scope of EPA's authority, before this regulatory mischief expands any further," WLF Senior Litigation Counsel Cory Andrews said in a statement late Tuesday.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, whose office joined in an amicus brief with Kansas and Montana in support of the high court's review, said he, too, was pleased with the court's decision to hear arguments in the cases.

"It is a case which we are following closely and will continue to do so," he said in a statement late Tuesday.

"I am committed to vigorously opposing the EPA or any federal agency when they exceed their legal authority."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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