Bloomberg: "Existing Air Law Tools Give EPA Narrow Path on Tackling Climate"

An in-depth story published a few weeks after the ruling on West Virginia v. EPA quotes panelists from an RFF Live event about the decision.

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July 18, 2022

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Bloomberg Law

When it comes to coal, “the lowest-hanging fruit” of major carbon pollution, EPA could drive closures with its greenhouse gas authority intact, according to University of South Carolina law professor Nathan Richardson, who spoke at a July 5 Resources for the Future webinar on the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“But to do much more than that, to be creative, to do the kind of cross-sector economy wide things that everyone acknowledges are required to make a meaningful dent in the structure of the economy and our emissions, this decision—the subtext said—that’s really hard,” he said at the talk.

The options available should temper any fatalistic predictions following West Virginia v. EPA, but court watchers shouldn’t “miss the forest for the trees” by ignoring even greater, far-reaching limits on what EPA can do with such a strong ruling limiting agency authority write large, Richardson said.

“We may not see those in the form of future regulations that are rejected by the court, but instead by regulations that the EPA never writes,” Richardson said. “There’s a shadow effect here.”

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