The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday to limit the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to strictly regulate emissions from power plants, a move that signals a major setback in the fight against the climate crisis.
In a 6-3 opinion along ideological lines, the nation's highest court ruled in West Virginia v. EPA that the federal agency does not have the authority to regulate industry greenhouse gas emissions. The case stems from former President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which would have enforced mandates for how much emissions power plants could emit. The plan was never officially implemented as it faced legal challenges and was rolled back under the Trump administration.
The court's opinion states that when it comes to capping carbon dioxide emissions, "is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme." It also said that a "decision of such magnitude and consequence" should reside with Congress.
In a statement, President Biden called it a "devastating decision" that "risks damaging our nation's ability to keep our air clean and combat climate change."