The Supreme Court discards Chevron doctrine, unleashing a threat to Biden’s climate policies

    The US Supreme Court is issuing its most highly anticipated decisions before the term ends in July.

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    Supreme Court overturns Chevron doctrine, curtailing federal regulatory power.Chevron doctrine allowed federal agencies to interpret ambiguous laws like the Clean Air Act.Biden’s climate policies, including limits on power plant emissions, could face threats.

    The Supreme Court on Friday overturned a decades-long legal precedent that has empowered the federal government to regulate the environment and other issues, unleashing a potential threat to President Joe Biden’s climate policies.

    The court overruled the Chevron doctrine, one of the most important principles guiding federal regulation for the past 40 years. It held that when the laws that Congress writes are ambiguous, courts should defer to federal agencies’ interpretation, as long as it’s reasonable.

    Now, however, it could be harder for agencies to address a wide range of policy areas, including the environment, health, and labor and employment. Chief Justice John Roberts authored the decision, joined by five conservative justices. The three liberal justices dissented.

    The ruling lands as President Joe Biden has raced to finalize a flurry of rules to combat climate change. Over the last year, the Environmental Protection Agency has set stricter limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars, trucks, power plants, and oil and gas infrastructure. The agency for the first time put limits on toxic “forever chemicals,” also known as PFAS, in drinking water. All of those regulations are the targets of lawsuits from Republican-led states, the fossil-fuel industry, or other businesses.

    Legal analysts widely expected the Supreme Court’s decision. The Chevron doctrine has long been a target of business groups and conservatives who argued it allows federal bureaucrats to overstep their authority on issues related not only to the environment but also to broad swaths of the economy, such as workplace safety, telecom, and finance.

    The Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority is similarly skeptical of federal agencies’ power, as past rulings have shown.

    On Thursday, the court put a temporary hold on the EPA’s plan to reduce air pollution from power plants and pipelines that blow across state lines while a lawsuit plays out in a lower court. Last year, the Supreme Court significantly narrowed how many wetlands EPA can regulate to keep them clean. In 2022, the court limited the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, leading the Biden administration to issue another plan under the Clean Air Act that it hopes can withstand legal challenges.

    How did this case end up at the Supreme Court?

    The plea to overturn the Chevron doctrine came to the court in two cases — Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless Inc. v. Department of Commerce. These cases involved commercial fishermen who opposed fees they had to pay to have federal observers aboard their vessels to prevent overfishing.

    The lawyers representing the commercial fisherman are from the Cause of Action Institute, a nonprofit group in the libertarian network built by Charles Koch, the petrochemicals billionaire who has advocated for deregulation.

    They argued the Chevron doctrine injures small businesses and individuals who have little power to influence federal agencies.

    Both the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the US Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit — citing the Chevron doctrine — upheld the rule issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service that requires herring fisherman to pay for observers on their boats.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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