Analyzing West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency
On the final day of the 2021-2022 term, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. The majority (6-3) opinion limited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under Clean Air Act §111(d), in part by invoking the “major questions doctrine.” The decision has implications for EPA’s authority both to regulate emissions from stationary sources and to regulate greenhouse gases more broadly. It also has implications for administrative law generally, including how the U.S. Congress may delegate regulatory authority to any federal agency. On July 12, 2022, the Environmental Law Institute hosted a panel of experts that considered questions raised by the justices’ opinions, and discussed what the decision will mean for environmental law, administrative law, and EPA’s power to act on climate change.