The US Supreme Court deals a setback in the fight against climate change

The US Supreme Court deals a setback in the fight against climate change

First modification:

In a new ruling, the US Supreme Court undermined the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish regulations that apply throughout the country against emissions of polluting gases. Again with a 6-3 ruling in favor of the conservatives, this resolution benefits the country’s mining and oil mega-companies and hinders the White House’s policies to combat the environmental crisis.

This Thursday, June 30, the Supreme Court of the United States was once again in the news for a controversial ruling. After overturning the restrictive law of the State of New York to carry weapons and the verdict of Roe vs. Wade that supported abortion as a constitutional right, this time the magistrates pointed to the fight against climate change.

With a result of 6-3 (identical to the other decisions), the conservative judges prevailed and limited the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to configure measures that regulate the emission of gases pollutants emitted by power plants.

The sentence written by John Roberts -president of the court- explains that it was considered that the Clean Air Act did not grant the EPA the authority to impose the regulations on plants already built.

The written resolution lists limits on carbon dioxide irradiation as “a sensible solution to the crisis of our time” and does not override any specific restrictions, but criticizes the EPA’s power to establish those terms.

In this trend in which the Supreme Court got involved, of marginalizing government entities and “returning” the initiatives to the legislative field, each State will be able to raise its own environmental policies.

Now the stage of dispute for measures against climate change will be Congress, where the Democrats do not have a majority to promote legislative proposals. Meanwhile, the ruling party may lose both chambers in the elections on November 8, which will renew a third of the Senate and 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

The Republican justices, who were again in the minority in the vote, were unhappy with cutting the EPA “the power given to it by Congress and necessary to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.”

While Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democrats in the Senate, was also critical of the Supreme Court’s decision. He linked it to the stance taken on abortion a few days ago, saying it “will cause more unnecessary deaths,” this time from contamination.

On the opposite side was Mitch McConnell, the highest Republican leader in the Upper House, who stressed that this “gives power back to the people” and to the States that can regulate themselves independently.

Who are the great beneficiaries of the Supreme Court’s decision?

The big winners of this ruling are the oil and mining companies, who have powerful allies in republicanism and are freeing themselves from the yoke of EPA regulations.

This case, West Virginia against the EPA, was promoted by 19 states, which were later joined by North Dakota and two major mining companies in the United States, The North American Coal Corporation and Westmoreland Mining Holdings.

“Did Congress constitutionally authorize the EPA to issue important regulations -including those capable of remodeling the country’s electrical networks and unilaterally decarbonizing practically any sector of the economy- without any limit?”, was the central question of the case.

The concern on which the lawsuit was based was closely related to the costs that the unilateral decisions of the government entity would cause in its fight against climate change.

The ruling of the Supreme Court directly conditions the environmental policy of the United States. At a minimum, it will slow it down and expose it to debates in the chambers every time some reform or restriction is sought.

In 2021, when Washington re-entered the Paris Agreement after its untimely exit in 2017 due to the responsibility of Donald Trump, Joe Biden had promised to tighten policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, in pursuit of achieving neutrality in 2050.

With EFE and international media

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