Brookings Mountain West presents "Changing Policy without Changing Law: Addressing Climate Change under the Clean Air Act," a talk by Philip A. Wallach, a Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings.
The evolution of our national climate change policy at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the 1990s-2000s, is marked by a backdrop of congressional inaction. In 2007, litigation (Massachusetts v. EPA) required the EPA to re-interpret the Clean Air Act to also apply to greenhouse gases. This presentation will include a summary of the legal arguments in that case, and the narrow Supreme Court decision that supported the petitioners; a review of the legal and practical challenges emanating from this ruling; and consideration of the EPA's impact on continuing legislative debates. The speaker will explore the impact of this decision on policy making institutions and the role of a grid-locked legislature, the executive branch, and the courts, with a consideration of the meaning for American democracy.