Supreme Court Blocks Climate Change Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a global warming lawsuit brought by Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Iowa and California against five major power companies. The case is being called the court's most important environmental ruling in years.

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And the Supreme Court, yesterday, rejected a lawsuit brought by six states against a group of power companies. Connecticut, New York, and California were among states suing over greenhouse gas emissions.

As NPR's Chris Arnold reports, the court's decision also affirmed the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency.

CHRIS ARNOLD: The case is being called the Supreme Court's most important environmental ruling in years. The state governments were suing power companies to get them to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But the Supreme Court said no. It said that such regulation should be left to the EPA.

Mr. KENNETH GREEN (American Enterprise Institute): Well, it's a big deal because of the reaffirmation of EPA authority.

ARNOLD: Kenneth Green is with the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute. On the one hand, he's happy that the court said that you can't have all these different emissions lawsuits. He says that would have created a big, confusing mess. But he's nervous about the power that the EPA could have going forward, as a sort of supreme regulator of greenhouse gases.

Mr. GREEN: It really leaves one battlefield left over greenhouse gas emission control and that is will the Congress step in to strip EPA of its ability to regulate the greenhouse gases or won't they?

ARNOLD: Congress recently failed to pass legislation regulating carbon emissions.

Daniel J. Weiss is a fellow with the more liberal-leaning Center for American Progress.

Mr. DANIEL WEISS (Center for American Progress): The Supreme Court decision will continue EPA's momentum to set safeguards from global warming pollution from the very largest polluters.

ARNOLD: Weiss says the EPA is expected to start unveiling new regulations for coal-fired power plants this September.

Chris Arnold, NPR News.

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