In the waning days of the Obama administration, he did what presidents often do when they have no campaigns left - moved on pet projects. In this case, he had an irrational love of solar power, believing that if government threw $50 billion at it all at once, it would accomplish what the private sector had not been able to do for 50 years.

He had already brought in an Energy Secretary who agreed, and said gasoline should be pushed up to $9 a gallon to make solar work.(1) When that failed, he sought to hobble the natural gas industry that had been responsible for emissions in America declining after the debacle of Democrats creating rampant coal usage because they hated nuclear energy more than they loved the planet. So he came up with the Clean Power Plan, which would use regulatory agencies to bypass Congress and the public, because a disastrous 1984 Supreme Court decision had created 'Chevron deference' and declared that any government agency could create regulations that act as laws if it is needed to satisfy their mandate.

You can guess what happened next. Administrations began to broaden the mandate of the agencies they control to avoid Congress. The ridiculous effort to try and use the CDC to tell landlords they can't do any evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic was just one recent abuse of that power. That thinking led to the Clean Power Plan, which was immediately challenged in court.

Then it was abandoned, though not because a Republican was in the White House. It was because by 2017 energy plants had met target emissions the new regulations would have required by 2025.

That has not stopped Democrats from pushing for more centralized control over energy. In a new effort the Supreme Court stuck down, the Biden administration sought to use EPA to regulate an entire industry rather than individual power plants. It's impressive for its audacity but the Biden administration has been really bold about throwing legal tactics at the wall and hoping some stick. SCOTUS affirmed it was a clear violation of the separation of powers.

Justice Kagan and two others tried to dissent but their argument that EPA has to have unchecked power or they won't be able to control carbon emissions is scientifically silly, especially when companies have done far more to curb emissions than dopey gimmicks like electric cars and carbon offsets. It was instead a backdoor effort to revive the poorly named Clean Power Plan, which was struck down by the courts before it was abandoned. When she wrote that SCOTUS should not be trying to dictate climate change solutions, she did not seem to realize that's what the court would have been doing if they allowed this abuse by EPA.

Energy companies don't want their product being wasted, natural gas is the reason CO2 emissions have plummeted since the dark days of the Clinton administration, when he made coal popular by banning nuclear energy. 

The Supreme Court got this one right. Energy is a strategic resource, like food and science, and Washington, DC, should not be micromanaging any of those.


(1) It did not, of course. Residential customers without solar are now on the hook for pass-through costs so that dopey solar ones can pretend they are really getting free energy, and even selling it back to utilities 'at the same price they pay for it.' The 99% are paying for free. People in poor parts of California have to pay for the rich in Malibu and lobbyists and environmental groups have challenged every effort to at least only force poor people to subsidize wholesale costs for solar.