The U.S. Supreme Court dealt another severe blow to our climate today in a case that addresses the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan.
“Today’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA—which hamstrings the Environmental Protection Agency in its ability to address greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under section 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act—is deeply disturbing. That’s because reducing power plant emissions is an essential part of addressing our climate crisis,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
Oregon has been involved in this litigation over the EPA’s right to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants since 2015. Together with a coalition of states, Oregon successfully challenged the Trump Administration’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation limiting emissions from existing power plants.
What makes this radical act by the Court so blatant: There is no federal rule currently in effect for coal companies and Republican-led states to challenge—the Clean Power Plan had never gone into effect. Perhaps more telling: Not a single power company petitioned the Court for review. In fact, several of the nation’s biggest power companies opposed the review.
“This ruling,” said Rosenblum, “is another reminder we are dealing with a new Supreme Court where a majority of the justices have demonstrated little regard for past legal precedent. This chilling ruling curtails the federal government’s ability to protect us from greenhouse gases and carbon emissions under this part of the Clean Air Act. I will continue to work hand-in-hand with like-minded state AGs on strategies to mitigate climate harms in a comprehensive manner at both the federal and state levels.”
“We will not be derailed,” Rosenblum added. “Our future—and our children’s and grandchildren’s—depends on stepping up this critical work and never giving up.”