CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – The Supreme Court curbed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to regulate climate change Thursday.

A lower court ruling would have given the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency virtually unlimited authority to regulate wide swaths of everyday life. In particular, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals mistakenly concluded that a narrow provision of federal law grants EPA broad authority to reorder entire economic sectors, such as manufacturing, hotels, and power generation in broad ways.

On Feb. 28 before the high courtWest Virginia and 18 other states challenged an overbroad interpretation of the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from coal-fired plants.

In a 6-3 ruling on June 30, 2022, the justices determined that the EPA cannot induce a shift toward cleaner energy sources using the approach that Obama-era regulation tried to, setting limits on how the agency can deal with power plants.

Leaders in West Virginia are all pleased with the announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Gov. Jim Justice issued the following statement today after the Supreme Courts’ decision in West Virginia v. EPA:

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision today in West Virginia v. EPA. This ruling in favor of West Virginia will stop unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. from being able to unilaterally decarbonize our economy just because they feel like it. Instead, members of Congress who have been duly elected to represent the will of the people across all of America will be allowed to have a rightful say when it comes to balancing our desire for a clean environment with our need for energy and the security it provides us.”

Governor Jim Justice (R-WV)

The Governor explained the federal government has exercised too much power for quite some time.

“People like to say ‘D.C. has too much power.’ They’re right. For too long, our federal bureaucracy has had almost unlimited, unchecked power over us with little accountability to the public. Agencies shouldn’t get to make unilateral decisions affecting all of our lives without Congress’s vote. That’s what this case really does, it gives power back to the people. West Virginia is one of the few states in the nation where all agency regulations must be approved by a vote of the state legislature before they take effect. I’m glad that the federal government will now be following the West Virginia model.”

Governor Jim Justice (R-WV)

He ended his statement by thanking Attorney General Morrisey for his work in arguing the case of WV. v. EPA

“I want to thank our Attorney General for all his hard work arguing this case right up to the Supreme Court. This ruling will have a positive impact on our country for generations to come and I’m proud that West Virginia was the state leading the way in this landmark case.”

Governor Jim Justice (R-WV)

Attorney General Morrisey also had a similar statement in reflection of winning the court ruling against the EPA.

“We are pleased this case returned the power to decide one of the major environmental issues of the day to the right place to decide it: the U.S. Congress, comprised of those elected by the people to serve the people. This is about maintaining the separation of powers, not climate change. Today, the Court made the correct decision to rein in the EPA, an unelected bureaucracy. And we’re not done. My office will continue to fight for the rights of West Virginians when those in Washington try to go too far in asserting broad powers without the people’s support. Our team did a great job in explaining why the Supreme Court should define the reach of EPA’s authority once and for all, and it paid off with today’s ruling. We intend to use the strong win the Court gave us in today’s decision to keep fighting for our State, local communities and our jobs. We are optimistic that the decision will save many West Virginia jobs.”

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee also issued a statement detailing the importance of this case in balancing the powers that the EPA has over the economy.

“As detailed in the bicameral amicus brief I led along with Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, this case was critical in making clear that EPA does not have the authority to issue regulations that transform how we use and generate electricity in this country. If Congress had intended to give EPA such sweeping authority to transform an entire sector of our economy, Congress would have done so explicitly. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is welcome news and further proves that EPA overstepped its authority by imposing enormously burdensome regulations on states to reconfigure our electric grid despite Congress’s rejection. I congratulate Attorney General Morrisey for his leadership on this important victory for West Virginia and the entire nation, which ensures that EPA can never issue an overreaching regulation like the Clean Power Plan again. EPA must follow the law, and as Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I will continue to conduct oversight of EPA to make sure the agency does not attempt to devastate the people and industries of West Virginia as it did with the Clean Power Plan ever again.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine issued the following statement regarding the WV v. EPA decision.

“At a time we’re seeing devastating impacts of climate change in communities across Virginia and the nation, it’s outrageous that the out-of-touch Supreme Court has handcuffed the EPA’s ability to address the climate crisis. Just yesterday, I was in Norfolk to meet with experts about the all-hands-on-deck fight to protect Virginians from sea level rise and flooding caused by climate change. These impacts hurt families, our military installations in the area, and our economic competitiveness. We should be using all the tools at our disposal to tackle climate change – not only building climate resilient infrastructure, but also moving to a cleaner energy future.” 

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Treasurer Moore issued the following statement.

Today’s decision is a victory for the rule of law and for West Virginia taxpayers, who depend on the fossil fuel industries for high-paying jobs, insurance and public infrastructure. For years, unelected bureaucrats in the administrative state have been trying to destroy our fossil fuel industries by transforming the EPA into a Communist-style central planning authority because they know they can’t get their radical environmental policies passed through Congress. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this overreach must end. The actions by the EPA, that the Court today found unlawful, have been used by financial institutions to justify discriminating against the companies that are critical to our citizens’ way of life in West Virginia. I applaud Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for his consistent leadership in fighting this federal overreach and for standing up for the rights of our citizens. West Virginia – which has borne the brunt of the war on coal and other fossil fuels – is proud to have leaders who are banding together to fight back against radical environmentalists in government and the ESG movement.”

West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore