The Supreme Court dealt a major blow this week to President Obama’s climate legacy and his aggressive regulatory regime. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled in favor of staying the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (Carbon Rule), meaning the rule cannot take effect while legal challenges are ongoing.

The stay by SCOTUS prevents the EPA from enforcing the carbon rule until lower courts decide on challenges brought by a number of states and industry groups that have alleged President Obama and the EPA exceeded their authority. The ruling confirms what many opponents of the President’s carbon rule already new: that the rule exemplified federal overreach; would be catastrophic for states and the economy; and was premised on backwards and illogical legal grounds. 

As Harvard Law Professor and Obama mentor Laurence Tribe has stated, the rule “lacks legal basis” and “is a remarkable example of executive overreach and an administrative agency’s assertion of power beyond its statutory authority.” The court obviously realized just how disastrous this rule would be for the country, while at the same time having little to no impact on the environment. 

The President’s Carbon rule represents the worst of federal overreach, and would have sent electricity rates soaring by double digits in over 40 states. The rule was also projected to kill thousands of jobs, potentially pushing integral industries to look for lower energy prices, potentially overseas.

The ruling by SCOTUS blocking the carbon rule prevents an economically disastrous outcome, much like what was seen with the recent mercury rule. In Michigan v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA’s Mercury regulation was legally unsound. However roughly 40 gigawatts of generating capacity had been prematurely shut down in response to the rule despite the fact the legal challenges had not yet been resolved.

To begin implementing the new carbon rule before legal resolution would have repeated the mistakes of the past, destroyed thousands of jobs, and cost millions in wasted taxpayer dollars. The ruling by the Supreme Court this week is a victory not just for the states and American economy, but also a victory for basic common sense and logic. 


Photo credit: Jeff Kubina