Lawsuits Against EPA Are Useful

Opponents of the Environmental Protection Agency’s assault on reasonable electricity prices may not have scored a victory in a Supreme Court ruling Monday – but they did accomplish something useful. They delayed the EPA’s attack.

High court justices ruled in favor of the EPA for the most part, in a case involving carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other industries. As Justice Antonin Scalia put it in writing the majority opinion, the EPA sought court approval to regulate 86 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and received permission to limit 83 percent of them.

Lawsuits against the EPA plan had been filed by a variety of opponents, including a coalition of states led by Texas.

Among those joining the case in opposition to the EPA was West Virginia. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s staff, working with their counterparts in Kansas and Montana, filed an amicus curiae brief (commonly known as a “friend of the court” filing).

Was the effort wasted? Not at all. For one thing, justices pointed out some weaknesses in the government position, with Scalia critical of “Congress’s profligate use of ‘air pollutant'” in legislation.

But lawsuits such as this one are useful in another important way:?They delay implementation of new EPA rules. If the agency can be held back long enough, voters may have time to put new, more reasonable members of Congress in office to reverse the agency’s assault.