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State attorney general's office says EPA should be able to regulate greenhouse gases nationwide

Emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo., in February. President Biden is announcing a new pledge for the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris climate agreement.
Charlie Riedel
The Associated Press
FILE - Emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 1, 2021. The Supreme Court on June 30, 2022, 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. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

The state has no time to waste if it wants to meet its climate goals. That’s why many are calling the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency a head-scratcher. It contends that the EPA does not have the broad authority to regulate carbon emissions without a specific mandate from Congress.

"The Supreme Court’s decision to limit EPA’s authority to regulate the fossil fuel industry, represents a regrettable rejection of EPA’s efforts to reduce overall carbon emissions from the second largest source of greenhouse gases, coal-fired power plants," Hawaiʻi Attorney General Holly Shikada said in a statement.

What could this mean for the climate change fight? Does the Supreme Court have a judicial veto over the powers of federal agencies? Hawaiʻi Deputy Solicitor General Ewan Raynor joined The Conversation to walk us through the implications of the case.

This interview aired on The Conversation on July 15, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Savannah Harriman-Pote is the energy and climate change reporter. She is also the lead producer of HPR's This Is Our Hawaiʻi podcast.
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