By Miriam Raftery
February 24, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--This week, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case that could determine whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency has the right to regulate greenhouse gas pollutants emitted by coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and chemical facilities.
The EPA has argued that it has a right under the Clean Air Act to regulate gasses that endanger public health or welfare. The agency calls its emission thresholds “sensible” and says the rules focus only on the biggest polluters while shielding smaller industrial facilities and businesses from having to obtain greenhouse gas permits/
The Environmental Defense Fund says those a ruling against the EPA would be a big mistake, letting the biggest polluters evade enforcement actions.
But a brief filed by House Republicans argues that the regulations are an abuse of power, bypassing Congress with unprecedented regulatory controls.
The Obama administration has renewed its call for major actions to combat climate change. Secretary of State John Kerry has recently called climate change a “weapon of mass destruction” that must not be ignored, and has indicated that climate change will be a key point in future diplomatic talks with foreign leaders.
Meanwhile here in the U.S., Congressional leaders remain split on the issue by a heated partisan divide.