On June 30, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate carbon emissions responsible for climate change. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the EPA doesn’t have the authority to utilize the Clean Air Act to limit power plant pollution. This decision threatens our climate, public health and potentially sets the stage for further regulatory power limits on other agencies as well.
According to NPR, “the court said that any time an agency does something big and new – in this case addressing climate change – the regulation is presumptively invalid, unless Congress has specifically authorized regulating in this sphere.”
“That’s a very big deal because they’re not going to get it from Congress because Congress is essentially dysfunctional,” said Harvard law professor Richard Lazarus, an expert on environmental law. “This could not have come at a worse time” because “the consequences of climate change are increasingly dire and we’re running out of time to address it.”
What can we do about it? We can vote! Our elected officials are accountable to us citizens.
Congress has the ability to restore that power, enabling our government to act on climate action many Americans want. So, go to EARTHDAY.ORG’s Vote Earth today to help drive turnout, register to vote, and call on your representatives to do their duty to protect the environment. The midterm election this fall will be critical in ensuring effective leadership in Congress to see this through.
And remember, it’s just not Congress who can push for climate action. Right now, many local and state level elections are underway. These officials are on the front lines, playing a major role in protecting our health through sustainability and collectively acting on climate change. It’s time to let them know how you feel, too.