The Supreme Court on Thursday restrained the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. The ruling also cuts back the federal government’s authority to regulate in other areas of climate policy, as well as regulation of the internet and worker safety, CNN reports.
The decision is a major defeat for the Biden administration’s attempts to slash emissions at a moment when scientists are sounding alarms about the accelerating pace of global warming.
The ruling comes as the United States is experiencing an aspect of the climate crisis that scientists have warned of for years.
In the middle of a prolonged, water shortage-inducing megadrought, conditions in the Southwest are increasingly worsening. Water is desperately needed to replenish the country’s largest reservoirs, and provide relief to regions tormented by record-setting wildfires.
The Supreme Court decision also puts the Obama administration’s “Clean Water Act” in jeopardy and it could be reversed.
The ruling was 6-3. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the conservative majority, with the three liberal justices dissenting.
As noted by CNN, “the decision is one of the most consequential cases for climate change and clean air in decades.”