Chevron’s death gives life to new environment and energy lawsuits

Source: By Pamela King, E&E News • Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2024

A group that frequently sues over EPA rules said it “will not waste a moment in seizing this opportunity.”

Smokestack emissions from a power plant.

Conservative lawyers say the Chevron doctrine’s demise will cast a pall over the Biden administration’s position in litigation over key rules, such as its controls on carbon pollution from power plants. bkking111/Flickr

Industry groups are wasting no time devising new legal strategies to defeat federal environmental rules after the Supreme Court demolished the Chevrondoctrine last week.

In its Friday ruling that axed the doctrine — which helped agencies like EPA defend their regulations in court — the high court’s conservative supermajority said that past cases decided on Chevron grounds would not be affected. But opponents of rules on climate change and other key issues say there are still plenty of opportunities to call on the decision to loosen the grip of federal regulators.

“The legal and regulatory landscape has transformed in the blink of an eye,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, which has challenged EPA rules in court. “Manufacturers will not waste a moment in seizing this opportunity — an opportunity that we have never seen before — to leverage this decision to rein in the regulations that are holding back manufacturers from improving lives.”

For 40 years, Chevron had instructed courts to defer to agencies’ reasonable interpretation of federal statutes, such as the Clean Air Act. In Loper Bright v. Raimondo — the ruling last week that ended Chevron — the justices said that courts should instead use their own independent judgment to decide whether an agency had acted within its authority.