WASHINGTON (WCMH) – A Supreme Court ruling Thursday has reshaped how the Environmental Protection Agency regulates air pollution and partially obstructs the federal government’s ability to set climate goals. 

In a 6-3 ruling on West Virginia vs. EPA, the court’s conservative majority ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, West Virginia’s attorney general, 18 other Republican attorneys general and two coal companies. West Virginia argued the Court should not allow the EPA to issue regulations that can reshape the country’s electricity grids. 

The court agreed, saying the EPA does not have the authority to regulate power plant emissions. Rather, this authority should fall to Congress. The court’s decision has heavy implications for the scope of federal administrative power. 

“At this moment, when the impacts of the climate crisis are becoming ever more disruptive, costing billions of dollars every year from floods, wildfires, droughts and sea levels rise, and jeopardizing the safety of millions of Americans, the Court’s ruling is disheartening,” said Michael Regan, administrator of the EPA, in a statement.

Specifically, the ruling calls into question a provision of 1963’s Clean Air Act in which Congress passed to “protect and enhance” air quality. In 1970, Congress amended the act to constitutionally authorize the EPA to issue significant rules. However, these regulations the Court has ruled against are not currently in place. 

In 2015, the EPA used the Clean Air Act to establish the Clean Power Plan – a national set of standards aimed at reducing carbon emissions by setting the first national limits on carbon pollution. The Clean Power Plan was replaced by the Trump Administration and has not been revived by the Biden Administration. 

“Congress did not grant EPA…the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Clean Power Plan,” the majority wrote. 

Through this ruling, the Supreme Court has set a precedent to prevent future EPA mandating on power plant emissions. In order for the U.S. to meet climate targets, like reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, the Biden Administration would need the EPA to hold regulating power.

The Biden Administration was expected to unveil power plant regulations later this summer. The move was fueled by Biden’s goal for the U.S. power grid to run on clean energy by 2035. In Ohio, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is aiming to make the city carbon neutral by 2050. Intel has also announced its computer chip factories, including the company’s $20 billion expansion into New Albany, will achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

“Today’s catastrophic U.S. Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia v. EPA will harm far more than our nation’s ability to battle climate change,” said Desiree Tims, president and CEO of Innovation Ohio, in a release. “It will kill good-paying union jobs, increase your family’s energy costs, and likely hinder basic government functions like ensuring clean drinking water and testing food quality.”

Further, Tims outlined the ruling will lead to fewer upgrades and repairs made to power plants, and fewer jobs.

“Clean water, food safety, product quality — all of that is made possible by government standards that industries must meet,” Tims said in the release. “Remove those standards, and we’re left hoping greedy private corporations will decide to do the right thing all on their own.”

While Regan said he is deeply disappointed by the decision, he says the EPA is committed to using the full scope of its authorities to protect communities and reduce the pollution that is driving climate change. Further, the EPA will move forward with lawfully setting and implementing environmental standards.

The Ohio EPA declined to comment.