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Source and Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

West Virginia, et al. v. EPA, et al.


West Virginia, et al. v. EPA, et al. (U.S. Supreme Court, June 30, 2022): In response to a challenge brought by members of the coal industry and several states, led by West Virginia, the Supreme Court struck down an Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule allowing states to adopt regulations promoting a transition to clean energy sources, concluding that the rule exceeded EPA’s statutory authority. The majority reasoned that a widespread transition to clean energy would significantly impact the economy, not just the energy producers directly targeted, and that agency rules with such large-scale economic impact cannot be based on the kind of “vague” or “obscure” Congressional grant of authority that the EPA relied upon. The dissent argued instead that Congress used broad language intentionally, to allow EPA to appropriately respond to new and significant issues. Read the full decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – August 15, 2022.

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