SW Legal Educational Publishing

EPA Has Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gases
Description Supreme Court held that the EPA, contrary to its position, has authority to regulate vehicle emissions that contribute to greenhouse gases that the Court recognized as contributing to global warming.
Topic Environmental Law
Key Words Clean Air Act; Greenhouse Gases; Auto Emissions
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Massachusetts and some other states petitioned the EPA to tighten the standards for vehicle emissions (specifically carbon dioxide, which is not regulated) that contribute to greenhouse gases. The EPA refused to regulate the emissions contending it did not have authority in the Clean Air Act (CAA) and that, even if it could, it would be unwise as Congress is considering regulatory options and possible international treaties. The appeals court agreed with the EPA; the states appealed.
Decision Reversed and remanded. The states have standing to sue for review of the matter as their environment is affected by the regulation or lack of regulation. The CAA authorizes the EPA to regulate emission from new vehicles in the event it forms a judgment that such emissions contribute to climate change. The EPA can avoid taking regulatory action with respect to greenhouse gases only if it determines that the gases do not contribute to climate change or if it can provide a reasonable explanation as to why it cannot or will not exercise its discretion in the matter.
Citation Massachusetts v. EPA, 128 S.Ct. 1438 (Sup. Ct., 2007)

Back to Environmental Law Listings

©1997-2007  SW Legal Studies in Business. All Rights Reserved.