Federal court affirms EPA authority

The AES Corporation 495-megawatt Alamitos natural gas-fired power station stands in Long Beach, Calif. Should the government push technology that some say is not fully tested?

Jeremy Hobson: Carmakers, power plants and oil companies are "considering their options" -- as they say -- after a Federal appeals court ruled yesterday that the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The ruling is seen as a win for environmentalists and the Obama Administration.

From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Scott Tong reports.


Scott Tong: The EPA’s authority to limit global warming emissions goes back to a Supreme Court ruling from 2007.

It’s complicated. But the upshot is lots of people don’t like it. Groups of farmers, miners, truckers, homebuilders, herders and drillers all challenged it in federal appeals court. And lost.

Business professor Jay Apt at Carnegie Mellon says the EPA’s now has a greenlight to regulate tailpipe and power plant emissions.

Jay Apt: The ruling today clears the way for both the mobile sources and the stationary sources.

Coal interests have particular reason to be worried. Their product spits out twice the carbon of natural gas, which also happens to be cheaper in many places.

Andy Byers is with the consulting and construction firm Black and Veatch.

Andy Byers: In addition to the market advantage that gas has now, this action would make it even more difficult for coal-fired power plants.

He figures in the coming decade, natural gas will push aside coal as the king of power generation.

In Washington, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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