Supreme Court releases EPA, immigration decisions

The Supreme Court today released decisions limiting the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate how power plants source fuel for electricity generation and allowing the Biden administration to discontinue the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or Remain in Mexico Policy, a Trump-era policy requiring individuals applying for asylum to wait in Mexico while their immigration case is processed.

Each ruling may have widespread repercussions in rural America.

The EPA decision

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson said the ruling in West Virginia v. EPA “clearly acknowledges that EPA overstepped its regulatory authority in the Clean Power Plan.”

“The court’s decision resets the agency to its appropriate regulatory path, requiring it to set achievable emissions guidelines that can be accomplished at existing power plants while also allowing states to consider local factors and have the final say on compliance options.

“The energy decisions we make today will determine whether there are sufficient resources for the lights to come on tomorrow. Electric co-ops are investing in a diverse energy mix to keep the lights on reliably and affordably for American families and businesses. As our nation depends on electricity to power more of the economy, policymakers must recognize the need for time, technology development and the importance of always available energy sources to maintain reliability and affordability.

“That’s particularly true in light of recent warnings that dozens of states may struggle with rolling blackouts this summer due to policies that promote the disorderly retirement of existing generation resources,” Matheson said.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, said the court had ruled “that the EPA acted outside its congressionally-granted authority by issuing burdensome, sector-wide regulations that force states to change their fuel sources for electricity generation.”

“North Dakota is a leader in producing more energy with good environmental stewardship, and it is important that states continue to have flexibility to reduce emissions in a way that maintains the affordability and reliability of the grid,” said Hoeven.

“Today’s SCOTUS decision affirms our work to both reinforce the role of states as the primary regulator of energy development within their borders and to push back on the needlessly burdensome rules that the Biden administration continues to impose on our energy producers.”

Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., the ranking member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Pipeline, Rail and Haz-Mat Subcommittee, and a member of the House Agriculture Committee, said, “For too long, presidents, courts, and even Congress itself have yielded too much law-making authority to executive agencies, contrary to the genius of our Constitution and its separation of powers among the three branches of government.”

“It’s right there in the first sentence of Article One, Section One of the U.S. Constitution: ‘All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States ….’

“But just as courts can be tempted to become lawmakers, federal agencies under the control of the president also continually try to encroach on Congressional power, often simply because Congress has not passed legislation a president wants.

“With the court’s decision today, the EPA, and ultimately other Agencies, will have their wings clipped, returning power to the American people through their elected representatives, and away from unelected bureaucrats.

“Today’s news is also a big win for our economy and for agriculture in America, as the EPA has been among the worst offenders of usurping congressional authority.”

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., said, “As someone who voted for the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, I strongly disagree with the court’s decision today.”

“Continuing the troubling precedents in recent days, once again ideology trumps reality as this extreme court chips away at EPA’s ability to address climate change.

“While EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources under the Clean Air Act remains the law, the court’s decision is way out of step with reality,” Carper said.

“This ruling hampers our ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a rapid and cost-effective way, which is bad for our economy and planet.”

“While utilities have exceeded the emissions reductions goals called for under the Clean Power Plan, we must do more. The court seeks to restrict EPA from using flexible and low-cost approaches to address greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Still, I remain resolute in my commitment to passing legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions across our economy. Our future depends on it.”

End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller said the EPA decision “is the result of a relentless lobbying effort by the fossil fuel industry to forestall action on climate change by pumping money into political campaigns and shaping the Supreme Court.”

“Since Citizens United, the fossil fuel industry has become one of the biggest spenders to elect Republicans, who in turn confirmed the radical conservative majority. The industry’s efficacy and strength is directly tied to its ability to spend unlimited and undisclosed money.

“At a time when the majority of Americans are demanding more action to curb the impacts of climate change and protect the environment, the Supreme Court is yet again showing how wildly out-of-touch it is. Until we sever the ties between special interest money and the Supreme Court, the radical majority will continue to side with monied interests that helped confirm them.”

Indian Country Today published an analysis of the potential impact of the EPA ruling on Indian reservations.

▪ Supreme Court — West Virginia et al. v Environmental Protection Agency, et al.: Syllabus

▪ Axios — Supreme Court reins in Biden’s power on climate change

▪ — A closer look at the Supreme Court EPA decision

▪ The New York Times — Supreme Court Curbs E.P.A.’s Authority to Address Climate Change

▪ Indian Country Today — Supreme Court rejects EPA authority: Will tribes be the ‘last line of defense’ or opt for more coal development?

The immigration decision

On the immigration decision, Todd Schulte, president of, a liberal immigration group, said, “We’re profoundly relieved that the Supreme Court has affirmed President Biden’s authority to end the devastating Remain in Mexico program, and we urge the administration to move as swiftly as possible to end this program permanently.”

“This was a clear rebuke of the lower court’s outrageous and reactionary overstep. Today’s ruling is a long-overdue victory for compassion, safety, and the rule of law — and for tens of thousands of vulnerable individuals attempting to seek safety from terrible violence and persecution.

Hoeven criticized the court’s decision on immigration.

“The growing crisis at the border is due to the Biden administration’s policies and their lack of enforcing key immigration tools,” said Hoeven.

“Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court will make the problem worse by allowing the administration to not require people seeking asylum at the southern border to wait in Mexico while their case is adjudicated. We’re disappointed in today’s ruling, but we fully intend to continue our efforts to secure the border and get this border crisis under control. That means building the wall, putting in place the personnel and technology we need and enforcing the law.”

The immigration ruling, which followed the discovery of 51 dead migrants in a tractor trailer in Texas, could intensify pressure for Congress to make changes to immigration law.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, R-Ill., told Politico this week that he has has started immigration reform talks with Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., while the senators have been traveling throughout Europe this week.

“We’ve been talking the last couple days about reviving that effort,” Durbin said in an interview, according to the Politico report.

“And I think what happened at the border with finding 51 dead migrants in that tractor trailer is what I would call a ‘Uvalde moment.’ I hope it sparks an interest in finding a bipartisan approach to dealing with immigration.”

–The Hagstrom Report

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