Supreme Court will consider EPA regulation of greenhouse gases

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday it would consider whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other stationary sources. The court accepted six petitions, but consolidated the cases and will only hear one issue in all cases.

The Court stated in its order the cases are limited to the question of whether the EPA permissibly determined its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases. The court ruled in 2007 the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases for vehicles.

The EPA has proposed carbon dioxide limits for new power plants that would limit CO2 emissions from new natural gas-fired plants to 1,000 pounds per megawatt-hour and small gas-fired turbines to 1,100 pounds per MWh. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per MWh but would have the option to meet a somewhat tighter limit if they choose to average emissions over multiple years.

The Court has limited oral arguments to one hour and will hear the case in 2014.

Subscribe to Power Engineering magazine.