A divided Supreme Court blocked the Obama administration Monday from requiring permits for greenhouse gas emissions from new or modified industrial facilities, but the ruling won’t prohibit other means of regulating the pollutant that causes global warming.
The court’s conservative wing ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority by changing the emissions threshold for greenhouse gases in the Clean Air Act to regulate more stationary sources. That action can only be taken by Congress, Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion said.
But the court said the EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions from industries already required to get permits for other air pollutants. Those generally are the largest power plants, refineries and other industrial facilities responsible for most such emissions.
The decision only removed one method the administration uses to regulate greenhouse gas emissions at power plants, refineries and other stationary sources, leaving other methods in place. That means the administration can move ahead with its new regulations on existing coal-fired power plants, which are intended to cut emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.