Past Event

The Supreme Court, the Clean Air Act, and Illinois

Earlier this month in a five-four vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had the power to assess the impact of and regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Prior to the ruling, the EPA argued that the legislation did not require the agency to respond to climate change.

This case, filed by 12 states and 13 environmental groups that had grown frustrated by the Bush administration’s inaction on global warming, is seen as a test of the scope of agency’s discretion in contentious policy areas. It is also viewed as a potential measure of judicial power over regulatory agencies.

Here in Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reported on a new emissions policy currently being implemented. Under this system customized for newer cars, older cars will no longer be tested. How should climate science be translated into decision-making by federal and state officials? Should there be “grandfather clauses” for certain cars or companies?

What is the government’s role in responding to global environmental threat? Is this another instance of activist judges overreaching their powers? Should the President and Congress be solely responsible for setting environmental policy?

Join us this week at Café Society to share your thoughts on this important issue.

Suggested Readings:

Supreme Court backs states on Clean Air Act and greenhouse gasses

Statement on Supreme Court Ruling on Global Warming in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency

Supreme Court tackles global warming

State gives old beaters a free ride

Saving the Earth sensibly

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.