SCOTUS Handcuffs EPA’s Authority

Earlier this year, we wrote to you about the Supreme Court’s upcoming oral arguments in West Virginia v. EPA, a case determining the federal government’s capabilities to regulate greenhouse gas pollution. Now, the court has reached its decision, and as we feared, the EPA’s authority to regulate the greenhouse gas pollution of power plants has been significantly weakened.

In a 6-3 decision, this ultra-conservative court has taken the unprecedented action of slapping down EPA’s hand even before it had the chance to act. Our judicial system is premised on the principle that the courts are only supposed to rule when there’s an actual injury at play, but in this case, the Court ignored that to issue a ruling before the EPA has even proposed relevant regulation. This just goes to show how belligerent this Court is willing to be.

In the ruling itself, the Court decided that the EPA cannot set standards that would require replacing fossil fuel power plants with clean energy. Without this authority, one of the most important tools in EPA’s belt to tackle the climate crisis has been severely neutered. 

The Court argues that Congress would need to explicitly grant EPA this authority in clear legislation. That’s where SEEC comes in. SEEC members are leading the charge to make sure Congress takes climate action, and responding to this egregious SCOTUS ruling is no exception.

FIRSTNAME/Team, we cannot take this decision lightly. Without regulation to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, it will be exceedingly difficult for the U.S. to meet our emissions goals and protect ourselves from the worst consequences of climate change.

This is yet another example of how much elections can shape the direction of our courts and why we need strong Democratic majorities to fight back against the destructive actions of the Supreme Court. If Republicans take back Congress in November, things will only get worse.

We need SEEC members and Congress to fight back against and strengthen environmental protections despite the court’s decision in this case. Will you pitch in immediately to help elect more SEEC members to Congress in 2022 so Democrats can hold — and expand — their majority?