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Climate Law Is a Game Changer

Environmental Protection Agency EPA headquarters

September 8, 2022

Earlier this year, when the Supreme Court restricted the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fight climate change, the reason it gave was that Congress hadn’t made it clear that the EPA had a responsibility to address climate pollution from the power sector. Well, it has now been made abundantly clear. The climate law passed by Congress last month contains language written specifically to address the Supreme Court’s justification for reining in the EPA. The new law amends the Clean Air Act to define the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels as an “air pollutant.” Among other things, the law provides billions of dollars to the EPA to reduce emissions from power plants and helps to fund the development of wind, solar and power sources that don’t emit carbon dioxide. It is the largest investment in climate-change solutions in United States history, and is expected to help cut emissions about 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of this decade. According to legal experts, the language will make new regulations much tougher to challenge in court.

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