The Supreme Court reduced the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from powerplants in a 6-3 ruling on Thursday morning.

“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day, but it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” he added.

He made it clear that the court does not interpret the Clean Air Act to provide the EPA that authority without congressional support.


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In a separate opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch emphasized the importance of allowing people’s voices to be heard through representatives to vote on the laws they want to abide by.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote a dissent for the court’s three Democrats, raising the issue of global warming and critiquing her colleagues.

“The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decisionmaker on climate policy,” she wrote. “I cannot think of many things more frightening.”

The ruling throws in a major obstacle to President Joe Biden‘s goals of cutting America’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade in an effort to curb global warming.

It will also greatly affect any agency action that comes without authorization from Congress.

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