The case of West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency is the result of a coordinated multi-year strategy developed by Republican prosecutors, conservative legal activists and their financiers, several of whom are involved in the oil and coal industry, to use the judiciary to rewrite environmental protection. weakening the executive’s ability to fight global warming.
As Deivenports points out, the consequences of this particular decision are literally catastrophic.
These climate restrictions in the United States, which has pumped more global warming gases than any other country, are likely to set a global target to reduce emissions so that the planet does not warm by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This is the threshold at which scientists say the risk of catastrophic hurricanes, droughts, heat waves and fires increases significantly. The earth has already warmed by an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius.
In order to properly assess the “coordinated multi-annual” strategy within which West Virginia v. The United States. EPA The case case (actually four cases joined together) is an example of how and what has formed the monolithic conservative majority of the current Supreme Court. The organization responsible for selecting almost every candidate nominated or approved by the Republican Party, including the 241 federal judges approved during the Trump administration, is the Federalist Society, a widespread and highly influential organization whose mission (in addition to its practical function of normalizing and disseminating alternatives, companies friendly conservative ‘jurisprudence’) is to transform the judiciary into a tool to benefit the business interests of a small group of extremely wealthy donors, mainly (but not entirely) from the fossil fuel sector.
The results of these efforts – Judges Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Alito and Barrett – have now come to court with Thomas, a right-wing judge from a previous era, now able to decide on the most expensive issue. to the hearts and desires of their patrons: the ability of the U.S. government to regulate the huge emissions of toxic chemicals, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants caused by the drilling, extraction, treatment, and use of their products.
Therefore, as Davenport reports, there are now a number of cases brought by Republican Attorneys General – each designed specifically to encourage radical and new interpretations of existing laws – passing through the federal system with a destination to be decided by a Conservative majority (majority, which is now – as leaked Dobss opinion illustrates that this is completely inconsistent with the current precedent). As Deivenports notes, “More climate cases are being heard in federal courts, and some of them involve new legal arguments, each of which has been carefully selected to block the government’s ability to regulate industries and companies that produce greenhouse gases.”
In other words, many of these cases, which are dealt with under the leadership of the fossil fuel industry, do not simply challenge environmental regulations, but deliberately challenge the executive’s ability (through its federal agencies) to regulate them at all. As the Trump administration has shown, when Republicans control the executive, they do so by changing the missions of the agencies themselves (assigning loyalists to them and weakening existing rules through administrative rules). Democratic administrations, on the other hand, pose problems for such industries as Democrats actively seek to protect the environment on behalf of the American people. Therefore, the main purpose of the fossil fuel lobby is to permanently limit the existing powers of federal agencies to enforce regulations, especially those aimed at pollution and thus reducing the industry’s profits.
The main purpose of these lawsuits is EPA’s efforts to combat climate change, such as regulating exhaust emissions, requiring the industry to conduct an economic analysis of the adverse climate impacts of its industries, and requiring a switch to renewable or non-CO2 energy sources. Thus, fossil fuel conglomerates, with their well-established, well-paid ‘environmental’ lawyers, have examined the argument that the attacks set a precedent by delaying an agency’s ruling on what its rules mean by ‘exceeding’ and seeking to redefine the relationship between our own branches of government. according to the conservative dogma produced, which contains such regulation, it should not be the competence of the executive but of Congress.
As Davenport notes:
The plaintiffs want to combine what they call the administrative state, EPA, and other federal agencies that set rules and regulations that affect the American economy. That should be the role of Congress, which is more accountable to the electorate, said Jeff Lendry, the Louisiana Attorney General and one of the Republican group leaders suing.
Defying EPAs as a threatening “administrative state” instrument, these cases have been brought by Republican Attorneys General, who, as Davenport’s article makes clear, owes his political position to “dark money” campaigns largely funded by Koha’s industries. and other fossil fuel companies – especially urging Congress, not the EPA, to be responsible for such complex regulations. However, the prospect of asking members of Congress to actually draw up and promulgate complex regulations governing, for example, chemicals and pollutants or the regulation of carbon dioxide and carbon emissions technologies is not only ridiculous, but absurd.
As Deivenports explains, “for decades [Congress] has delegated powers to agencies because it lacks the expertise of professionals who write complex rules and regulations and are able to react quickly to scientific change, especially when Capitol Hill is deadlocked. And assuming that Congressmen and women have the knowledge, time, and resources to make such rules – which they certainly do not – it remains to be seen how Marjorie Taylor Greene or Paul Gosar would react to such a task, if at all.
According to senior correspondent and legal analyst Ian Milhizer, writing Vox, The cases currently pending before the court concern EPA’s authority to interpret and enforce the Clean Air Act in connection with the Obama Administration’s Clean Energy Plan, which is now a completely controversial measure, as the plan was never implemented because it was suspended prior to its implementation. legal challenges for the industry. The Court could have refused to hear cases for this reason alone, but the recently mandated Conservative majority apparently sees its potential to irreversibly change the relationship between the executive, which has traditionally been responsible for implementing policies that ensure large-scale congressional acts. and the rest of the federal government.
As Milhizer explains, the petitioners not only claim that the Clean Air Act itself would be weakened, and not only challenge the constitutional powers of the EPA to implement it, but also, in the present cases, that the entire federal phalanx. agencies dealing with environmental protection, workplace protection, and even access to birth control and health care should be restricted. If the court accepts their arguments at face value, as Milhizers explains, the hope for any serious regulation against environmental pollution, let alone the effects of uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions on the climate, will become a distant memory: “The United States will be very different. place if the right-wing of the Court enters West Virginia”.
In the worst case, the Baiden administration West Virginia The case could make President Joe Biden the weakest president in the United States in more than 80 years, and could give the Supreme Republic, dominated by Republican nominees, a veto over huge parts of federal politics.
The Conservatives’ main argument in these cases is that EPA has no right to determine the “best emissions scheme” under Clean Air Law to reduce greenhouse gases (mainly CO2), which undoubtedly contribute to global warming and climate change. . The Obama administration’s clean energy plan called for polluting industries, such as coal-fired power plants, to abandon technologies that failed to meet their emissions reduction targets. The Trump Administration tried to replace the Clean Energy Plan with a drastically weakened regulation called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which may have actually led to increased carbon emissions; this provision was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal, citing a challenge as an example West Virginia v. The United States. EPA joined cases are now in court.
These cases, brought by Republican Attorneys General participating in the fossil fuel auction, argue that the Clean Energy Plan should be stopped altogether, although there are currently no rules or regulations in place. And that is where the court’s decision to even deal with the case is relevant.
Under the Clean Air Act and the large-scale litigation enacted by Congress, the power to enact and enforce the regulations necessary to comply with the provisions of the Act is clearly delegated to the executive through its federal agencies. The Supreme Court in an important case called Chevron v. NRDC, for instance, unanimously endorsed the general rule that account should be taken of the statutes drawn up by the agency, the management of which it is entrusted with, clearly recognizing the need to delegate such complex matters to Congress.
But this is a completely different court that seems to be trying to deconstruct to its benefactors and supporters any legal principle that benefits the American people, rather than corporate interests that want and even want to use drastic and reactionary theories of law to achieve. it’s over.
The reactionaries appointed by Donald Trump’s court have, surprisingly, shown their responsiveness to such theories, which is one of the reasons why these cases are now pending. Nor were they deterred by the previous precedent shown by the leak Dobss considers that the Conservative wing of the court holds itself accountable to no one but their donor base. Judge Neil Gorsuh, for example, has strongly advocated the principle of the doctrine of “non-delegation” – a theory of law that had not been uplifted since the New Deal – which has suddenly become viable. the interests of ordinary American citizens.
As Milhizer explains, Gorsuh’s wording would transfer congressional and executive power to the courts – not accidentally – to himself and his conservative colleagues to explain what a vaguely or ambiguously written law really means. As Milhizer notes, Judge Clarence Thomas went even further, pointing out that a congressional delegation is inadmissible and that the agency simply cannot issue binding regulations, an extreme and rather cruel opinion that would automatically make most consumers, workers safe and protect the environment. the laws are not valid.
It should be emphasized that none of these reactionary approaches is the result of a precedent that should guide this court and all lower courts. Rather, they are all products of deliberately distorted and carefully crafted ‘jurisprudence’ whose ideas and aims are purely political in origin.
It is not clear which way the court will choose, and it will not be clear until the opinion is given. As stated in the Davenport article, EPA’s ability to regulate the reduction or elimination of toxic and carbon emissions is doomed to the climate and condemns us all to living with the consequences. But if the draft Dobss opinion is any indicator, this court does not care about the human consequences of its actions. It is a truth driven entirely by ideology, and if it means that the planet and humanity must suffer terribly, it is a sacrifice that its members are very willing to make.