U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


2013 Term

Oral Argument Date

February 24, 2014


Questions Presented

“Whether EPA permissibly determined that 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.”

Case Updates

U.S. Supreme Court repudiates EPA's approach to regulating GHGs, calls Agency's Clean Air Act re-write a violation of the Constitution's "separation of powers"

June 23, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the EPA's approach to regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the PSD and Title V provisions of the Clean Air Act. The Court held that the Act neither compels nor permits the EPA to adopt an interpretation of the Act requiring a source to obtain a PSD or Title V permit on the sole basis of its potential greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, the EPA cannot, as it intended, sweep millions of businesses - from dry cleaners to industrial manufacturers - into an onerous and costly permitting program which can take businesses up to 10 years to obtain a permit. The Court said that EPA's attempt to unilaterally re-write the Clean Air Act violated the Constitution's separation of powers.

The Court also ruled that EPA is permitted to regulate GHGs under the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) provisions of the Act, but only for those few facilities that must already obtain a PSD or Title V permit for other conventional pollutants. Moreover, the Court clarified that nothing compels EPA to regulate GHGs through BACT. The Court also stressed several “important limitations” on any GHG BACT standards.

With respect to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, the Chamber’s President and CEO, Thomas J. Donohue provided the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision demonstrates what we’ve said all along: the Clean Air Act is ill-suited to address greenhouse gas emissions. The Court recognized that EPA’s attempt to sweep small businesses into its greenhouse gas agenda was an unconstitutional power grab. EPA is now on notice that it does not have unlimited authority to impose massive costs on the U.S. economy and mandate a fundamental redesign of America’s electricity system.”

Case Documents