On February 28th, republican attorneys began arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has no authority to regulate the plant-warming emissions from the power sector. They believe that this should be something that congress is in charge of.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the most significant case about Climate change, West Virginia v. EPA, in nearly a decade. Supreme Court will hear arguments about a dispute that could potentially eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to control Pollution.
During the first day of the case, many conservative justices indicated that they would likely lean toward taking away EPA’s ability to address the climate crisis.
Scientists have been warning for years that we need to change the way we’re running the U.S., or there will be destructive consequences to the environment. President Biden has made plans to cut the nation’s greenhouse emissions in half by the end of the decade, but a conservative-leaning decision could make his plans unobtainable.
West Virginia v. EPA is an unusual case because there isn’t an EPA rule on power plant emissions. The lawsuit asks the court to block the EPA from making rules on it in the future. It is very unusual for the Supreme Court to take a case that involves a possible future regulation.
These legal challenges began in 2015 when President Barack Obama announced his plan to fight Climate change, the Clean Power Plan. The program was going to require all states to lower carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector. This would include replacing coal-fired power with wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources. The power sector is the United State’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter.
However, Obama’s Clean Power Plan was never implemented. When President Trump came into office, he made a new plan with close to zero regulations. On the last day of his presidency, the federal appeals court found that the administration had misconceived the law and removed the Trump plan. This made way for Biden’s administration to create its own regulations, but those have not been completed and now are in even more jeopardy with this Supreme Court case.
Team Evergreen is at the Supreme Court this morning fighting to protect the Clean Air Act—one of the most effective tools we have to combat Climate change.
Learn more and get involved: https://t.co/t8oSe0Ivfs pic.twitter.com/3WswcMoOC3
— Evergreen Action (@EvergreenAction) February 28, 2022
Each side has unsurprising supporters. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is the main plaintiff in the case, is representing two coal companies and has Support from 91 members of Congress and many conservative groups. Morrisey says he is encouraged by the 6-3 conservative-leaning court and believes they will get what they want.
The U.S. Solicitor General is representing the Biden administration and the EPA. The government is supported by many of the largest power companies. These include public and private electric companies, 192 members of Congress, and climate and public health advocates. Tech giants are also on the government’s side, including Apple, Google, and Netflix.
The Biden administration is fighting for the case to be dismissed because there aren’t even any regulations that the plaintiffs are fighting against. Biden is expected to release his greenhouse gas emission plan any day now.
The devastation of Climate change on the environment is ever-present. The United States has been reported to have caused the most earth-warming Pollution in the atmosphere. Biden has pledged to cut greenhouse gases, and we hope this case will rightfully be dismissed, and we can work towards cutting greenhouse gases before it’s too late.
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