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Opinion: The US Supreme Court may be poised to upset EPA’s applecart

Tiny bubbles. I’m watching tiny bubbles dancing in my glass of Cola as I solemnly reflect on our nation’s energy future. Carbon dioxide plays a complex role in our lives. It’s a food additive in my beverage, a non-toxic waste product exhaled by humans and animals, a plant fertilizer that greens the countryside, and, of course, a greenhouse gas that seems to have driven the world mad.

The COP26 climate talks are now history. Climate envoy John Kerry stepped with grandioso style onto the world stage and made some remarkable proclamations. Mr. Kerry proclaimed: “By 2030 in the United States, we won’t have any coal.” To further wow the world’s powerful elites, he added: “We’re saying we are going to be carbon-free in the power sector by 2035.”

As an emissary for President Joe Biden, and a spokesman for the American people, Kerry undoubtedly received an intoxicating power rush from those proclamations. He had a really good hair day.

Is it possible Mr. Kerry hasn’t heard about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear West Virginia v. EPA (Docket No. 20-1531), a test of EPA’s authority to enforce greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act?

The question to be resolved: Does carbon dioxide meet the Clean Air Act’s definition of an air pollutant? If the Supreme Court finds carbon dioxide — and other greenhouse gases — fails to meet that definition of an air pollutant, EPA could no longer adopt or enforce regulations related to the control of greenhouse gases. EPA’s authority is derived from powers provided in the Clean Air Act.

The news media has downplayed, or avoided entirely, the Supreme Court’s Oct. 29 announcement to hear this case. The Biden administration and climate change activists insist the issue was settled by the Court’s 2007 5-4 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, but this is a much different court, and the real-world consequences of the 2007 ruling have now come into focus. Surely the court would not have agreed to hear the case if they thought it was settled law.

If the court finds carbon dioxide does not fit the definition of an air pollutant, EPA’s only fix would be a redo of the Clean Air Act by the U.S. Congress. That is not likely with our deeply fractured Congress.

Today, EPA’s all-out effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions permeates just about everything they do. An adverse court ruling on West Virginia v. EPA could strike a devastating blow to EPA regulatory prowess. The court’s ruling is expected in the summer of 2022.

In the meantime, we Missourians better start praying for a mild winter. Soaring energy prices are a fact, and electrical blackouts and natural gas shortages are becoming more likely with a federal government hell-bent on eradicating fossil fuels.