(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court made it clear Monday that it's up to the Environmental Protection Agency alone to place restrictions on greenhouse gases emitted by companies.
In the unanimous eight justice decision, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor recusing herself, the high court said a lower court was wrong to have ruled that federal judges can issue restrictions in a case involving six states that sued five major power companies.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court that "the critical point is that Congress delegated to EPA the decision whether and how to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants; the delegation is what displaces federal common law."
The ruling still allows states and conservation groups to file lawsuits against the EPA, which will formulate new regulations later this year to restrict carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas.
Monday's ruling by the high court is its most important decision on climate change since the EPA was granted authority in 2007 to curb greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed in large part for global warming.
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