Fact vs. Fiction: WV vs. EPA Supreme Court Decision


In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress, through the Clean Air Act, did not grant the EPA the authority to create carbon emissions caps for power plants that would shift energy generation away from coal. Moving forward, the EPA can no longer force power plants to switch their energy generation from coal to natural gas, wind turbines, or solar energy, though it can continue to regulate individual power plants in other ways.

This decision, while limiting EPA authority to regulate power plants, has no effect on current EPA regulation of aftermarket performance products or mobile sources of emissions, such as cars and trucks.

Claim: This decision means the EPA does not have the authority to regulate motor vehicle emissions.

Rating: Fiction

The EPA regulates both stationary and mobile sources of air pollution. Stationary sources are fixed sources of air pollution and include power plants. Mobile sources of pollution include motor vehicles. This decision does not impact EPA’s regulation of motor vehicles and applies only to EPA regulation of power plants.

Claim: This decision limits the EPA’s ability to regulate emissions-related automotive aftermarket performance products, such as tuners and superchargers.

Rating: Fiction

Because the Supreme Court’s decision is limited to stationary sources of pollution, such as power plants, it does not impact current regulation of aftermarket products by the EPA.  However, the ruling does suggest that the Supreme Court may scrutinize other overreaching EPA regulations in the future.

Claim: This decision means the RPM act is no longer necessary. 

Rating: Fiction

As mentioned above, this decision has no impact on the EPA’s authority to regulate motor vehicles or aftermarket products. Therefore, it is still imperative that the RPM Act be enacted into law to guarantee your right to modify street cars, trucks, and motorcycles into dedicated race vehicles, and ensure that industry can offer parts that enable racers to compete. If you have not done so already, please contact your lawmaker in support of the RPM Act right away!

Claim: This decision could lead to the courts reigning in the EPA in the future.

Rating: Fact

The Supreme Court has shown a willingness to interpret the Clean Air Act as giving the EPA less direct authority. In the future, this could lead to weakening California’s ability to set its own clean air standards, a unique process of compliance and enforcement, a right that is allowed under the Clean Air Act. The Court could also restrain unfair enforcement practices or push back on other unreasonable interpretations of the law. No matter what, SEMA will be fighting for the industry and car enthusiasts nationwide.

Questions? Please contact Daniel Ingber at danieli@sema.org.