SCOTUS to Decide Whether Congress or the EPA has the Power to Regulate Carbon Emissions – Part II

On the heels of oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, we provide an update to a prior ELM post whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s has the ability to regulate carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. 

Various theories abound that the court could depend on to support its decision, which could have significant reverberating impacts.  Among the possibilities, from the most earth-shattering to the least are: (1) the non-delegation doctrine; (2) the major question doctrine; (3) statutory …

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New Year, New Vehicle Emissions Standards?

As 2021 came to a close and many Americans were setting their own standards and goals for 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency announced finalized revisions to national greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks. Overall, the new industry-wide average target will come out to roughly 40 miles per gallon by 2026. A reversal of the prior administration’s relaxation of fuel-emissions standards, the revised standards are the strictest federal greenhouse gas emissions requirements in history, and are seen as a fundamental part of …

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SCOTUS to Decide Whether Congress or the EPA has the Power to Regulate Carbon Emissions

On November 12, 2021, just as President Joe Biden prepared to travel to a major climate conference in Scotland with the intention of establishing America as a world leader in curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to a lower appellate court’s recent restoration of some of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority concerning carbon emissions. The challenge focuses on a provision of the Clean Air Act requiring the EPA to identify the “best system of emission reduction” for existing …

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The Renaissance of the Pistachio to Achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions

So you thought pistachio was just an underrated ice cream flavor or the in-vogue topping to that savory encrusted salmon recipe trending on social media. Think again—pistachios (along with some other unexpected resources) have upped their culinary game and are helping to decarbonize the cement industry by serving as an alternate, carbon-free fuel source for industrial manufacturers. The cement industry may take the credit for tapping into this underutilized resource, more specifically the pistachio shell, to fuel its cement kilns. However, Turkey was first keen …

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White House Releases Interim Estimates on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

The newly re-established White House Interagency Working Group (IWG) on social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG) recently released interim estimates for the social cost of carbon (S-CO2), social cost of nitrous oxide (S-N20), and social cost of methane (S-CH4), collectively referred to as the SC-GHG, in accordance with President Biden’s directives set forth in one of his initial executive orders issued at the start of the new presidential term.

The SC-GHG is used by federal agencies in the regulatory cost-benefit analysis to justify certain executive …

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Is a Watchdog’s Bark Worse Than its Bite? Inspector General Begins Probe of EPA’s New Vehicle Emissions Rule

The Office of the Inspector General of the United States Environmental Protection Agency is beginning an investigation into “potential irregularities” in the adoption of new regulations related to vehicle emissions. The evaluation arose after a former Environmental Protection Agency employee complained that career staff were not involved in the creation of the new rules.

The notice from the Office of Inspector General also credits Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) for initiating the investigation and notes that the Office of Inspector General will determine whether the rule …

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Colorless Haze? Carcinogenic Gas Found at Monitoring Sites in 16 Cities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new data regarding the concentrations of ethylene oxide, a colorless and carcinogenic gas, found in metropolitan areas throughout the country. That data shows that the highest concentrations can be found in Phoenix, Arizona, followed closely by Chicago, Illinois, Calvert City, Kentucky, and Chester, New Jersey.

Ethylene oxide is an industrial compound most commonly used to produce other chemicals or as a sterilizing agent for medical instruments. The EPA released the data as part of an ongoing effort …

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EPA Denies New York’s Good Neighbor Request

Last week, the EPA issued a final rule denying New York state’s bid to have the EPA issue enforceable daily emissions standards for hundreds of emission sources in upwind states in order to allow the New York Metro Area and Chataqua County to comply with 2008 and 2015 national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone under the Clean Air Act. The EPA ruled that the state failed to prove that the upwind pollution sources are interfering with its efforts to comply with the NAAQS.…

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Global Plastic Proliferation – An Emerging Climate Threat

From teeming landfills, choked rivers, and Pacific Ocean garbage gyres, to potential harm to marine and animal life from micro-plastic debris spanning the poles to the deepest part of the oceans, the growing proliferation of plastics is triggering a growing realization that the world has a plastics problem. This is not just an environmental pollution problem. Scientists are beginning to understand that plastics – from cradle to grave – potentially could have an unrealized significant impact on global climate change.

Earlier this month, the Center …

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Executive Order 13868 – the Push is on to Maximize Energy Production – Climate Change Impacts and the Local Environment – Nevermind.

On April 10, 2019, the Trump administration published Executive Order 13868, “Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth,” which directs the EPA Administrator to, “consult with states, tribes, and relevant executive departments and agencies in reviewing section 401 of the Clean Water Act and EPA’s related regulations and guidance to determine whether any provisions thereof should be clarified to be consistent with the policies described in section two of this order.” The policy referred to in section two states, in relevant part:

It is the …

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