SCOTUS EPA Decision Seen as Not Aligned with Voters
Friday, July 1, 2022
Environmental groups are criticizing a U.S. Supreme Court decision, which narrowed the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.
Some argued the opinion runs counter to what many voters want to see in the fight against climate change.
Jade Begay, climate justice director for the NDN Collective, said the outcome will halt the Biden administration's goals for reducing carbon emissions by 2030. She pointed out even more concerning is millions of lives will be at risk as the world's climate becomes further destabilized.
Like with other recent decisions, Begay contended the conservative arm of the Court is going against the public trust.
"Sixty percent of voters believe the EPA should be allowed to regulate air pollution that contributes to climate change," Begay noted.
The poll she cited was recently issued by Data for Progress, which surveyed Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
Begay emphasized deferring to states on such matters is harder in conservative states like South Dakota. Gov. Kristi Noem was among those who championed a multistate lawsuit challenging a federal order on examining the social cost of carbon emissions. Noem argued it was federal overreach.
The Supreme Court did reject the legal challenge, allowing the order to stay in place. However, Begay said more broadly, it appears the court's majority is putting its own interests first. In the meantime, she stressed climate change will only get worse for people around the world.
"We will lose our homes, we will lose our local economies," Begay predicted. "There will be disruptions to ... the places that we have jobs, the places that we raise our families."
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization, and Begay noted they are especially concerned because many sources of pollution are near or on tribal lands. She added it has contributed to public health concerns for tribal members, including asthma.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.
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