Two narratives emerged after this morning's Supreme Court ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It was either a victory for environmentalists or a setback for regulation, depending on which side you chose to come down on.
NY Times' front page: "In Victory for Obama, Court Backs Rules on Power Plants. LA Times' front page: "Supreme Court limits EPA Authority.."— Andrew Cohen (@CBSAndrew) June 23, 2014
So which one was it? Here's what you need to know.
Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency (et al)
Basically, this very dense case had to do (in part) with how the EPA can regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions (like power plants) through permits, even if their emissions don't stay put.
In a 5-4 decision, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing the majority opinion, the court ruled that some facilities that emit greenhouse gases can't be required to have permits even as they expand or build new facilities that could cause pollution. In other words, the EPA had overreached its authority under existing statutes and only Congress can extend the law in that way.