7 cases that reshaped environmental law in 2022
Over the last year, the Supreme Court has rapidly restrained government agencies from addressing climate change, health crises, and other critical challenges. The Biden administration's regulators, who are anticipated to load the Federal Register with new regulations on water pollution and car emissions, may learn from 2022 court cases, notably West Virginia v. EPA, which curtailed the federal government's capacity to address a major greenhouse gas source. Environmental attorneys should avoid using precedent that conservative jurists may overturn. Local governments are battling to preserve hundreds of liability cases against Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC, and other oil giants in state courts, which may be more amenable to climate concerns than federal courts, but oil and gas industries want the Supreme Court to take the cases. In a blockbuster case that might restrict the Clean Water Act, the Supreme Court is set to rule in the coming months. Sackett v. EPA gives the justices another chance to weaken pollution regulations, but environmental groups may prevail in federal court by focusing on statutory text.