Supreme Court Delivers Landmark Ruling On Greenhouse Gases

On Monday, the Supreme Court delivered one of the most important environmental decisions in the court’s history. The case in question, Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), challenged the agency’s failure to regulate vehicle emissions of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. In a 5-to-4 decision, the court ruled that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) in automobile emissions. Although the ruling does not force the EPA to regulate auto emissions, continued inaction would almost certainly result in further legal action. The only circumstance in which the agency could sidestep its authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other GHGs would be if it could prove that the gases do not contribute to climate change. This ruling will likely have significant national impacts and will strengthen efforts within the congress to pass federal legislation on climate change. Furthermore, the decision will establish a precedence for additional cases that challenge the agency’s failure to regulate carbon dioxide from power plants. To see TreeHugger’s previous coverage of this case, see ::U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh in on Global Warming and ::Update: Massachusetts v. EPA

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