How Much Power Should the E.P.A. Have?

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Aerial view of the Columbia Generating Station in Richland, Washington state on March 21, 2011.
From and

Today the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case Environmental Protection Agency vs. EME Homer City   Generation. The case examines the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, also known as the "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act, which grants the E.P.A. power to regulate states that contribute to the pollution of their downwind neighbors. 

At the heart of the case is the question of who has the power to act on issues of controlling environmental hazards. Is Congress the supreme authority, or the Environmental Protection Agency created by Congress back in the 1970s?

Four years ago the E.P.A. declared that it had the power to regulate carbon dioxide because of the scientific consensus over its role in contributing to global warming. To some members of Congress, the move was seen as a declaration of war—a war on Congress.

Jeff Holmstead is a former assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency who is now an attorney with the firm Bracewell and Giuliani. While the Obama Administration defends the E.P.A.'s right to regulation, Holmstead, who served under President George W. Bush, disagrees.