Montanans of differing political stripes had strong reactions to Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting EPA power to regulate power plants.
The high court stated that Congress did not grant the EPA the authority to devise emission caps based on shifting from coal and natural gas to renewables in its ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Northern Plains Resource Council says it smashes decades of precedent, while the Montana attorney general says the decision stops an overly broad and illegal overreach of power.
The court majority stated that the EPA could require an operator reduce production of electricity, build or invest in natural gas, wind farms or solar plants or purchase allowances or credits as part of cap and trade.
And it states this rule would impose billions in costs.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, "this court doubts that Congress intended to delegate decisions of such economic and political significance."
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, a Republican, agreed with the 6-3 decision.
"The Biden administration's attempt to weaponize the Clean Air Act was a clear abuse of the EPA's authority," Knudsen said. "I'm really glad to have worked with other states to stop this power grab and to prevent President Biden from unilaterally decarbonizing the power sector."
However, those with Billings-based Northern Plains Resource Council warned of the consequences this could have in the future.
"This was a really radical overreach by the Supreme Court, really an assault on protections that ensure communities in Montana can thrive," said Joanie Kresich, Northern Plains board chair. "It ignores separations of power, separation of powers that's so fundamental to democracy."
Kresich said Northern Plains will work at the local level on renewable energy.
Knudsen said he will continue to fight what he calls the green agenda to shut down American energy development.