Montpelier – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released a deeply troubling decision that sides with coal companies and their allies, and takes away the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The Court significantly restricted EPA’s authority to take action under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to address climate change by ruling Congress must authorize specific programs to address carbon emissions from power plants, despite the fact that the CAA grants broad authority to EPA to address dangerous sources of air pollution. 

By narrowing the ability of EPA to regulate climate pollution under the Clean Air Act, SCOTUS is once again putting the  health and safety of all Americans at risk, in favor of corporate interest. First gun control, then reproductive rights, and now the ability to address climate change — each of these have been undermined by SCOTUS over the last few weeks. 

At a time when we need every tool in the toolbox to combat the climate crisis, the Court’s anti-environment, anti-science decision sets a bad precedent for the future—a trend of ongoing undermining of federal agencies’ ability to establish strong, cost effective, equitable pollution standards to protect people and the environment. 

Jon Groveman, Policy and Water Program Director at Vermont Natural Resources Council stated, “This decision ignores the broad authority that the Clean Air Act places in EPA to address our most serious pollution issues, and right now there is no issue more serious than climate change.  Given the inability of Congress to take bold action on a range of issues, the Court’s decision seems designed to protect polluters.”   

Brian Shupe, Executive Director of Vermont Natural Resources Council added, “President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which was developed under the authority of the CAA, was making progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  This decision calls into question whether our federal government can effectively address threats to our very survival. This is a question of public health, climate justice, and human rights.”

Lauren Hierl, Executive Director of Vermont Conservation Voters commented, “We need significant reforms to end special interest control over the courts, and to elect a Congress who will take the necessary actions to combat the climate crisis by passing the $555 billion for investments in climate, jobs, and justice. We cannot afford to wait any longer. It’s time to reform the court and elect officials who can get the job done.”