The Supreme Court is starting to gut the EPA. Could your car’s emissions be next?

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS - Getty Images

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS – Getty Images

  • The Supreme Court is saying, in effect, that the EPA cannot regulate pollution.

  • Earlier in the week, the EPA jailed a man for a year for selling emissions eliminators. Maybe he should go to the Supreme Court.

  • Does this mean the EPA will finally eliminate car emissions?

It’s conceivable—who knows?—that your car might not have to pass emissions someday if the Supreme Court continues on the path it started on Thursday.

Because this week the Court ruled that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency could not tell power companies to stop burning coal. Ironically, earlier that week, a guy in North Carolina who had sold more than 14,000 illegal emissions suppression devices for cars and trucks—and who had ignored earlier orders from the EPA to stop doing so—was convicted and sentenced to a time and day in prison.

Photo: Kevin Dietsch - Getty Images

Photo: Kevin Dietsch – Getty Images

What does all this mean? Let’s start with the Supreme Court.

In West Virginia v. EPA, the Court said the Agency had no authority to tell power plant operators that they had to use clean energy sources instead of coal. EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency, a government entity established under the Nixon Administration to regulate air pollution, among other things.

“Congress did not grant EPA in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the authority to devise emission caps based on the generation-shifting approach the Agency adopted in the Clean Power Plan,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the conservative majority, referring to two different laws governing pollution.

There were three dissents to the ruling, among them Associate Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote, “…let’s state the obvious: The stakes here are high. However, the Court today prevents Congress’s authorized agency from taking action to limit power plant carbon dioxide emissions. The Court appoints itself—rather than Congress or the agency—the climate policy decision maker. I can’t think of many things scarier.”

Photo: Giles Clarke - Getty Images

Photo: Giles Clarke – Getty Images

Meanwhile, in Henderson, North Carolina, the EPA and the Clean Air Act were still alive.

“Today, U.S. Chief Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Matthew Sidney Geouge, 35, of Hendersonville, NC, to one year and one day in prison for conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act by selling more than 14,000 illegal air-destroying devices. vehicle emission control required. systems, also known as “defeat devices,” the Justice Department said.

Geouge must also pay $1.3 million to the EPA and $1.2 million to the IRS, the latter for failing to pay taxes on sales of the illegal devices. Geouge and three associates sold “well over” 14,000 defeat devices, the DOJ added.

And it’s not like he wasn’t warned.

“EPA issued a notice of violation to Geouge in 2015,” the DOJ said. “However, Geouge continued to sell and service illegal devices. Geouge also avoided paying a fine owed to the EPA and taxes owed to the IRS by having another person receive the income he earned from selling the illegal devices.”

How are these two court cases connected? If SCOTUS says the EPA can’t regulate air quality at power plants, then isn’t it just a matter of time before the auto emissions laws are struck down as well?

Auto designer John Grafman may have spoken for a lot of people when he said, “Given the latest SCOTUS decision and the weakening of the EPA, I wouldn’t be surprised if this (Geouge’s conviction) is appealed and maybe overturned. After all, according to some judges, who is the EPA to regulate things like air quality? SMH!”

Geouge should appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

Except that the court is now in recess until it meets again on the first Monday in October. Get ready for what could be more of the elimination of pollution laws.

Share your thoughts on the decision — and the potential for more strikes against the EPA — in the comments below.

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