Clean Air Act Regulation After West Virginia and the Inflation Reduction Act
On October 29, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, a petition filed by several states and coal companies attacking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA’s) regulatory authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Court’s holding in this case would determine EPA’s continued ability to use the CAA—including the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) program—as a climate change tool. The Court saved its ruling until June 30, 2022, the last day of a drama-filled term. This Comment summarizes the Court's ruling and examines how its specific and more general analyses apply to NAAQS and other CAA provisions, concluding that NAAQS and several other regulatory options—particularly EPA’s proposed methane regulations—remain viable. It also explores the relevance of regulatory options in light of the newly enacted Inflation Reduction Act, adopted just a month and a half after the Court’s ruling.