Dare We Hope the Courts will Defeat Climate Change in 2016?

The Hill reports that 2016 will be a year of court fights against the Obama Administration: “Obama’s climate agenda on trial.”

A slate of major environmental rules rolled out by the Obama administration in 2015 will face serious challenges in the new year, as opponents look to beat back the president’s ambitious policies — a core piece of his legacy.

In the lead-up to the landmark Paris climate talks in December — an event that yielded a first-of-its-kind global agreement to cut carbon emissions — the Obama administration released a series of sweeping new environmental rules, each garnering both condemnation and deep-pocketed opposition from interests looking to torpedo the regulations in 2016.

As Obama enters the final year of his presidency, much of his focus on environmental issues will be implementing and preserving the work he’s already done. If 2015 was the year he pushed his environmental agenda forward, 2016 could be the year he looks to preserve it.

Here are some of the biggest regulations Obama finalized or proposed last year, and how they’ll be litigated in 2016…

The story goes on to list four areas: The Clean Power Plan, the Clean Water Rule, the new standard for acceptable levels of ozone, and new rules for methane emissions.

Typically, none of these new laws came from our nation’s legislature, which is Congress. They came from the EPA claiming the authority to make law allegedly on the basis of a law passed long ago. For example, in the case of the clean energy rule,

Dozens of opponents sued against the rule the day in October that it hit the Federal Register, arguing the EPA went beyond its legal authority in assigning states carbon reduction targets.

“EPA’s rule is flatly illegal and one of the most aggressive executive branch power grabs we’ve seen in a long time,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said. “The EPA cannot do what it intends to do legally.”

The EPA defended the rule as one with “strong scientific and legal foundations” and has sought to protect it from the lawsuits. Opponents want federal judges to issue a stay on the rule and, with legal filings on the matter due on Dec. 23, the first judicial skirmish over the rule is set for early 2016.

Of course it is illegal because the Constitution does not grant law-making power to the EPA!

Since Congress won’t simply defund the EPA, our only hope is in the courts. It is a dim hope.