The Buckeye Institute Files Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court Challenging Sweeping EPA Authority

Dec 21, 2021

Columbus, OH – On Monday, The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the court to rein in the administrative power of the EPA and arguing that rules regulating private businesses adopted by unelected officials at the agency violate the court’s major questions doctrine.

“As Justice Scalia famously said, ‘Congress does not hide elephants in mouseholes.’ As such, if Congress intended to allow the U.S. EPA to regulate virtually every person or business that uses electricity, it would have said so specifically,” said Jay R. Carson, senior litigator at The Buckeye Institute. “In West Virginia v. EPA, the EPA argues that a general statutory provision empowering it to regulate power plant emissions gives it authority over most of the American economy, which is exactly the type of ‘major question’ that the Supreme Court said should be decided by elected Congressional representatives, not unelected bureaucrats.”

West Virginia v. EPA deals with whether the U.S. EPA has the authority— regardless of the costs—to impose sweeping rules to regulate entities outside of power plants. In its brief, The Buckeye Institute argues that the U.S. Supreme Court’s major question doctrine precludes the EPA from exercising such vast power without an explicit designation from Congress. 

“The potentially harmful impact of these sweeping rules on Ohio’s economy is undeniable,” Carson continued. “With more than 350,000 Ohioans directly or indirectly employed in either the mining or oil and gas industries, the proposed EPA rules clearly meet the ‘vast economic and political significance’ threshold in the high court’s major questions doctrine.”

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UPDATE: June 30, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “Congress did not grant EPA…the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Clean Power Plan.” See The Buckeye Institute’s press release