WASHINGTON (WYMT/AP) - The Supreme Court on Thursday limited how the nation’s main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
By a 6-3 vote, with conservatives in the majority, the court said that the Clean Air Act does not give the Environmental Protection Agency broad
authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that contribute to global warming.
Read more about the ruling
“Today, the Supreme Court gave power back to the people. In siding with the state of West Virginia, the Court has undone illegal regulations issued by the EPA without any clear congressional authorization and confirmed that only the people’s representatives in Congress – not unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats – may write our nation’s laws.
“This ruling will have a significant impact on the Commonwealth. Even as energy prices spiral out of control and experts warn of electricity blackouts, the Biden Administration has continued the Left’s war on affordable domestic energy and proposed to saddle the electric power sector with expensive regulatory requirements. Working families and businesses are bearing the costs every day. Today’s decision frees Kentucky’s power producers to provide their customers with cheaper, more reliable electricity.
“The ruling also pushes back against the overbearing administrative state, which Democrats have expanded dramatically in recent years. The Constitution states clearly that the lawmaking process lies with the people and their elected representatives, not with opaque federal agencies. I am glad the Supreme Court affirmed this fact and hope other overeager bureaucrats take notice.”
“The Supreme Court has taken monumental action in recent days to get this nation back in alignment with our Constitution. For years, I warned that the Environmental Protection Agency was overstepping its boundaries, nearly regulating our coal industry out of business in the Appalachian region, sending thousands of coal miners to the unemployment line, and implementing stringent emission standards without the power to do so. The court’s ruling now requires the EPA to have “clear congressional authorization” before taking action on carbon emissions, ending the unregulated strangle-hold that unelected bureaucrats have had on our nation’s energy sector for years. The Supreme Court’s ruling is an overdue victory for Kentucky and the American people that could bring relief in energy costs when we need it the most.”
“This is a deeply disappointing and dangerous decision that eliminates EPA’s most effective tool for reducing harmful climate pollution from existing power plants. This decision gives coal executives and far-right politicians exactly what they asked for by frustrating EPA’s efforts to set strong, effective carbon pollution standards from power plants that would help protect our communities and families. For years, EPA has had the clear authority and duty under the Clean Air Act to effectively reduce climate-disrupting carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants, in line with the action the public and science demands. But today’s decision accommodates the powerful instead of the people by seriously narrowing that authority. As scientists warn that we are running out of time to combat the climate crisis, no one should be making it harder for our government to use effective tools to protect our families and communities.
“Now, EPA must forge ahead and issue new standards that require each of the nation’s remaining coal and gas plants to minimize their pollution to the greatest extent possible. And most importantly, it is up to Congress and the Biden Administration to act quickly to pass bold climate legislation—our future depends on it.”
“For 7 years as Commissioner of Agriculture, I have made pushing back against unfair Government regulations on behalf of Kentucky families and business one of the main focuses of my administration. Whether it was the Waters of the US, which would have declared dry ditches to be navigable waterways or emissions rules, like the one at the center of this ruling, that threaten the affordability of energy for each and every Kentuckian, I have been on the front lines nationally, leading the fight against harmful regulations.”
Below is an AEP-wide statement. A Kentucky Power spokesperson said the company (Kentucky Power) does not own coal plants in Kentucky:
AEP is making significant investments in new renewable energy and a more efficient and reliable grid to benefit our customers and support the nation’s transition to a clean energy economy. We have cut CO2 emissions 70% since 2000 and have committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
In the last decade, AEP has retired or sold more than 13,700 MW of coal-fueled generation, and we expect to reduce our coal capacity by an additional 5,300 MW by 2030. Our current plans call for adding 16,000 MW of new wind and solar by 2030 in our regulated states, growing our renewable generation portfolio to approximately 50% of our total capacity. Our customers, investors and other stakeholders expect that we are moving as quickly as possible to a clean energy future, and we are pursuing that goal. The Supreme Court’s decision will not impact our continued progress on transitioning to clean energy and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
Power Plant Retirements:
This decision does not change our planned retirement dates for our power plants. When we make the difficult decision to close a power plant, we evaluate many factors including the plant’s remaining life and economic viability, market forces, regulations and other options for producing power for our customers. We are working closely with our communities where these retiring plants are located as they develop action plans to transition from coal and diversify the local economy and workforce for new opportunities.
Ongoing Environmental Compliance Activities:
The Court’s ruling focuses on the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. There is ongoing work at many of our plants to comply with other state and federal environmental regulations, including the Effluent Limitation Guidelines and Coal Combustion Residual rules. This work is not impacted by this decision.
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