News | June 30, 2022

US Supreme Court ruling slashes EPA’s ability to fight climate change

The U.S. Supreme Court just ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to take common sense steps to rein in carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector in West Virginia v. EPA, significantly damaging the United States’ ability to reduce carbon pollution as scientists urge immediate emissions cuts to avoid the worst effects of climate change.   

Senior Attorney Frank Rambo is leader of SELC’s Clean Energy and Air Program.

“By hobbling the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, the Supreme Court’s ruling today has gravely impeded the United States’ progress to taking swift and necessary action to address climate change,” says Senior Attorney Frank Rambo, leader of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Clean Energy and Air Program. 

“We have only a brief window of opportunity to shutter fossil fuel-fired power plants that are one of the country’s largest sources of greenhouse gases, but today’s decision torpedoes the EPA’s authority to meaningfully transition them. 

“Of all regions of the country, the South has the most to lose from unchecked climate change,” says Rambo, “and the most to gain from an economy that relies on clean energy.” 

The ruling in favor of coal companies—in a case about an environmental safeguard that no longer exists, nor ever took effect—dismisses legal precedent and ignores the climate crisis that is already hurting families and communities. 

“Our environment is only as clean as the regulations that protect it,” says Rambo. “Today’s decision is devastating for the South and for the country, and should heighten the urgency for localities, states, and for us all to take action for climate solutions.” 

Explore the range of SELC’s climate work to learn more about how we’re addressing climate change.