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Massachusetts v. EPA Heats Up Climate Policy No Less than Administrative Law: A Comment on Professors Watts and Wildermuth


Jonathan H. Adler


Case Western Reserve University School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center


Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, 2007
Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-20

Abstract:     
In their essay Breaking New Ground on Issues Other than Global Warming, Professors Kathryn A. Watts and Amy J. Wildermuth have presented a thoughtful preliminary analysis of the Supreme Court's handiwork in Massachusetts v. EPA. They are correct that the decision potentially paves new ground in administrative law, particularly with regard to state standing. The Court's approach to review of agency decisions to decline rulemaking petitions is also potentially significant, but perhaps less ground-breaking than they suggest. In the context of climate change policy their assessment of the Court's decision is too modest, however, for Massachusetts virtually ensures federal regulation of greenhouse gases from motor vehicles and other emission sources. While the Court did not order the EPA to regulate with respect to climate change, the majority opinion gives the Agency little option but to regulate, and not just for motor vehicles. Unless the relevant provisions of the Clean Air Act are revised by Congress in new climate change legislation, Massachusetts v. EPA will mean greenhouse gas emission limits on a wide variety of sources.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

Keywords: Massachusetts v. EPA, state standing, administrative law, environmental regulation, greenhouse gas emissions, environmental protection, vehicle emission standards, Clean Air Act, climate change

JEL Classification: K30, K32, Q28

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Date posted: June 18, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Adler, Jonathan H., Massachusetts v. EPA Heats Up Climate Policy No Less than Administrative Law: A Comment on Professors Watts and Wildermuth. Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, 2007; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-20. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=993511

Contact Information

Jonathan H. Adler (Contact Author)
Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )
11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
216-368-2535 (Phone)
216-368-2086 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.jhadler.net
PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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