Client Alert

Supreme Court Rules EPA Has Statutory Authority To Regulate Greenhouse Gases

April 16, 2007

Sanjay Ranchod

On April 2, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision that may lead to the first national rules to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles. In Massachusetts v. EPA, No. 05-1120, the Court held that EPA has authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles under the Clean Air Act, and that it must regulate them if it finds greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change.

The decision does not require the federal government to regulate greenhouse gases, but it has important implications for regulated industries. In addition to increasing the likelihood that EPA will regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles, the decision will increase pressure on the Congress to enact climate change legislation and may lead to state regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act. It also may encourage more states to adopt Californias clean car rules limiting tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases.

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