Greens fear thorny Supreme Court precedent in EPA air fight

By Pamela King, Sean Reilly | 02/21/2024 04:15 PM EST

A decision against EPA could invite other emergency challenges against expensive federal rules, said one environmental lawyer.

Emissions rise from smokestacks.

Emissions rise from smokestacks. Charlie Riedel/AP

The Supreme Court appears willing to block a Biden administration rule aimed at cleaning up cross-state pollution and shifting power plants away from fossil fuels.

Environmentalists worry that such a decision would encourage other challenges against federal rules that regulated entities don’t like.

“The Supreme Court — if it were to block this rule — would effectively be saying to industry, ‘Look, any time you face costs from a regulation, come on up and take a shot. We might block that rule for you,’” said Sam Sankar, Earthjustice’s senior vice president for programs during a press call following Wednesday morning arguments in Ohio v. EPA.
Wednesday morning arguments in Ohio v. EPA
Ohio v. EPA


He cited conservative justices’ questions about the costs for upwind states, power plants and pipeline companies to comply with EPA’s “good neighbor” rule. The plan prevents states from allowing industrial emissions that force their downwind neighbors out of compliance with national ambient air quality standards.