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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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United States Supreme Court Rejects EPA's Regulatory Authority Under the Clean Air Act


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :    Monday, June 23, 2014
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605)773-3215   

United States Supreme Court Rejects EPA's Regulatory Authority  Under the Clean Air Act

PIERRE, S.D –   Attorney General Marty Jackley announced that the United States Supreme Court  rejected the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expansive interpretations of its authority under the Clean Air Act and its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in a decision issued today in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The Court held that the EPA exceeded its authority in requiring air quality permits for small businesses solely because they emit greenhouse gases. The Court reiterated that a federal agency may not rewrite federal law to suit its own sense on how a statute should operate.

"The EPA's attempt to regulate the agriculture industry and small businesses in South Dakota was without proper Congressional authorization," said Jackley. "Protecting our environment through reasonable regulation and enforcement is important to South Dakota. The EPA's attempt to expand its rulemaking power by circumventing normal procedure went beyond its legal authority and was not in the best interest of South Dakota."

On December 15, 2009, the EPA concluded that atmospheric concentrations of six greenhouse gases were sufficient to constitute air pollution. The agency then adopted a series of rules that, among other things, imposed permitting and limitations on greenhouse gas emissions from industries and small businesses. It was estimated at that time that under these new regulations, South Dakota would have to require 1,000 facilities in the state to obtain air permits for the first time. In October 2013, the State of South Dakota, along with Texas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and eight other States, challenged the EPA’s regulation as going beyond its legal authority.