Press Release | June 30, 2022

U.S. Supreme Court ruling hobbles EPA’s ability to fight climate change

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Today the U.S. Supreme Court 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. E.P.A., significantly damaging the United States’ ability to reduce carbon pollution as scientists urge immediate action to cut emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

In response to the announcement, Senior Attorney and Leader of SELC’s Clean Energy and Air Program Frank Rambo released the following statement:

“By hobbling the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today has gravely hamstrung the United States’ progress to taking swift and necessary action to address climate change. We have only a brief window of opportunity to cut emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants, one of the country’s largest sources of greenhouse gases, yet today’s decision torpedoes the EPA’s authority to meaningfully do so.

“Of all regions of the country, the South has the most to lose from unchecked climate change, and the most to gain from an economy that relies on clean energy. The Court’s ruling in favor of coal companies in a case about an environmental safeguard that no longer exists—indeed, one that never took effect—dismisses legal precedent, and ignores the climate crisis that is already hurting families and communities in the South.

“Our environment is only as clean as the regulations that protect it. 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 do what we can to take action and seek climate solutions.”

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Emily Driscoll

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