By Brad Plumer
“His legal philosophy was clear: In the absence of explicit instructions from Congress, any far-reaching effort by the E.P.A. to tackle environmental problems should be met with deep skepticism by the courts. That philosophy often put him sharply at odds with the Obama administration, which sought to harness older environmental laws to deal with newer challenges like global warming.
“It’s a neutral principle, although the effect isn’t always neutral,” Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard, said. “Congress stopped making clean air laws after 1990, so the E.P.A. has to work with increasingly tenuous statutory language. In effect, his approach to environmental law would make it harder to address current problems so long as Congress remains out of the lawmaking business.” “