New climate law seeks to return carbon emissions regulatory authority to EPA

Mike Moncla, president, Louisiana Oil and Gas Association

Louisiana industry groups in June celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency didn’t have the authority to create sweeping regulations for carbon emissions.

The decision was based on the fact that Congress hadn’t explicitly given the EPA that authority. But the climate provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act do provide that power, lawmakers and advocates say.

Mike Moncla, president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, says his organization hasn’t determined whether that interpretation is accurate, but says it would come as no surprise and speaks to why LOGA opposed the legislation. He says the Biden administration has consistently made drilling and refining more difficult and expensive.

Tommy Faucheux, president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association, says the act makes “positive progress” on Gulf of Mexico lease sales and addressing the energy transition while arguing it “falls short of fully addressing long-term energy needs” and includes tax policies that discourage investments in oil and natural gas.

LMOGA also is still reviewing the implications of the legislation, spokesperson Ashley Golden Cain says. Faucheux says he remains supportive of “smart regulations that build on climate progress” while promoting oil and natural gas production.

Conservative organizations that have challenged EPA’s authority in the past say the new law would not stop future lawsuits, though other experts say those fights would almost certainly be harder to win, the New York Times reports.

Nicholas Bryner, an endowed professor of energy law at LSU, says he doesn’t think the statute seeks to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia v. EPA. But it “reinforces the conclusion that greenhouse gasses are to be considered within the Clean Air Act’s definition of ‘air pollutants’” and bolsters the legal case for regulating GSGs.