Vote Solar Condemns ‘Disastrous’ SCOTUS Decision in West Virginia v. EPA
A statement from Executive Director, Sachu Constantine
As a team driven by people-centered climate solutions, Vote Solar is deeply saddened and frustrated by the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision to strip the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its necessary authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA and other federal regulatory bodies have crucial roles to play in limiting air pollution and safeguarding the health of communities. By ceding that authority to a Congress unable to agree on environmental policy and a patchwork of state regulations, the Supreme Court is undermining its own precedent and obstructing our country’s ability to meet the carbon emissions targets that science tells us we must.
It’s difficult to overstate the far-reaching and catastrophic impacts that today’s ruling may have on our collective efforts to reduce polluting emissions and mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. It is also, quite simply, a matter of life and death. The Clean Air Act — the landmark 1970 legislation that initially granted the EPA its regulatory authority — prevented 230,000 early deaths in 2020. Low-wealth communities and communities of color have already borne the brunt of air pollution and environmental injustice for generations; there is no question that the ruling will impact these same communities first and hardest. The Court has created a preventable, ongoing tragedy that will disproportionately harm low-income communities and families, while stripping our ability as a nation to halt the climate crisis.
Though we believe wholeheartedly that the Supreme Court’s decision is egregiously wrong, it also reaffirms Vote Solar’s longstanding strategy of prioritizing state-level advocacy. For two decades, we’ve recognized that state legislatures and public utility commissions are where we can have the biggest impact on climate. We’ve celebrated many incredible victories — just this year, we’ve prevented over 5,000 megawatts of new gas-fired electricity — and reeled from just as many setbacks. Through both, we always continue forward with determination, hope, and resolve. There is no other choice. It’s clearer than ever how meaningful our work is and just how many challenges we’ll face in our effort to fundamentally transform the power sector. We are prepared to rise to those challenges in pursuit of a resilient world, powered by the sun.