Kailie Melchior, SACE’s Communications Research Intern, co-wrote this blog.
America’s first regulation aimed at reigning in carbon pollution from our nation’s power sector may avoid some of the increasing politicization of our legal system in part due to the sudden and unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. A staunch conservative who sided more often with industry plaintiffs than with environmental advocates, Justice Scalia left a lasting legacy in environmental cases by offering strict interpretations for what constitutes “legal standing” and “harm.”
With Justice Scalia’s seat currently vacant, the Clean Power Plan may stand a better chance when it inevitably finds itself in front of the Supreme Court within a year. Other than his decision in Whitman v. American Trucking Association, where he took a pro-environment stance in the name of human health, and his rejection of the industry claim that coal ash is not a hazardous waste, Justice Scalia was most often found on the anti-environment side of the court – favoring property rights over the rights of endangered species, and was a dissenting vote in the landmark Massachusetts v. EPA decision that upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.
SACE’s "Energy Efficiency in the Southeast" 2019 report shows that Southeastern states and utilities continue to rely on expensive, outdated, carbon polluting fossil fuel power plants while underinvesting in abundant low-cost efficiency…