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Press Release

Contact: Sumer Shaikh, Green New Deal Network,, 774-545-0128

Green New Deal Network Slams Supreme Court Decision on WV v. EPA

SCOTUS decision to limit EPA power under the Clean Air Act puts our climate and communities at risk

GNDN endorses expanding number of SCOTUS justices, restore balance to the Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Green New Deal Network (GNDN) members released the following statements in response to the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision on West Virginia v. the Environmental Protection Agency (WV v. EPA), a ruling that sharply limits EPA’s power to regulate harmful power plant emissions. This most recent attack by a GOP-backed Supreme Court on our health and communities will undermine half a century of health, environmental, and climate justice advocacy, giving a lifeline to fossil fuel corporations who have kept us hostage to unreliable, dirty, and expensive energy.

In response to the conservative hijacking of the Supreme Court and the unelected Justices’ assault on our climate, health, democracy, and human rights, GNDN is demanding that our elected leaders take the following actions:

  • Pass the reconciliation package in Congress and invest in climate, care, jobs and justice;

  • Use remaining authority of the EPA to limit greenhouse gasses at the source under Section 111 and more broadly through other Clean Air Act provisions;

  • Establish new, stronger EPA standards to reduce carbon and toxic pollution, invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to speed the production of renewable energy technologies, stop new fossil fuel projects, and declare a climate emergency;

  • Activate Congressional authority to expand the Supreme Court through the Judiciary Act of 2021.

“We are extremely heartbroken and enraged at SCOTUS’ latest attack on our rights, our democracy, and our lives. Today’s WV v. EPA ruling threatens the government’s ability to stop the climate crisis and enact a Green New Deal. It hands over more power to corporate executives who will make record profits while our communities choke, burn, and flood,” said John Paul Meija, Sunrise Movement National Spokesperson. “A Supreme Court that sides with the fossil fuel industry over the health and safety of its people is beyond broken. We cannot and will not let our Democratic leaders standby while the GOP goes on the offense. If our Democratic leaders are really as outraged as they say they are, they must urgently pass legislation to expand the court, as well as pass sweeping Executive Actions to substantially reduce the harm caused by this devastating ruling.”

“This decision is a victory for big energy companies, and a lethal blow to everyone else,” said WFP National Director Maurice Mitchell. “Once again, a handful of Republican Justices have decided the fate of millions of regular people whose ability to work and take care of their families will suffer as a result. Passivity isn’t an option for the White House – either President Biden and Congress immediately uses their power to fight this with bold investments in clean energy, or they co-sign a Supreme Court decision that will make the worst effects of the climate crisis even more extreme, and make our chances at fighting it even slimmer.”

“The Clean Air Act is crucial for keeping fossil fuel executives from profiting off of outdated, dirty, and expensive power plants. For the often Black, brown, and low-income communities that live in the shadow of polluting infrastructure, the Clean Air Act is a pathway to facilitating a transition to a clean and affordable energy future and ending the climate crisis. When communities across the country are grappling with climate disasters, toxic pollution, and dirty energy sources, the Federal government needs to provide solutions. With one fell swoop, the Supreme Court made achieving climate and environmental justice even harder at a time when we need it the most. Since the GOP-backed Supreme Court Justices have shown themselves to be climate criminals, we must pursue systemic changes to the Court, even as we push Congress, the White House, and state and city governments to step up to ensure bold, urgent investments for climate, care, jobs and justice,” said Keya Chatterjee, Executive Director of US Climate Action Network.

“Our communities should be able to rely on our lawmakers to regulate emissions and toxins to protect the people, our communities, and Mother Earth but, now, that imperative is being repealed  by the largely Republican influenced Supreme Court. Those on the frontlines of the climate crisis fought hard to enact measures such as the Clean Air Act and the subsequent Clean Power Plan; we can’t afford for more to be eroded,” said Bineshi Albert, Co-Executive Director of Climate Justice Alliance“Instead of cowering to the oil, coal, and gas industries and their lobbyists, the Supreme Court should ensure that people’s health and well-being is safeguarded and protected, not the profits of big business.”

“The Right has plotted for years to capture the Supreme Court so they could systematically dismantle every single environmental protection poor and working class communities have won,” People’s Action Lead Climate Justice Organizer Ben Ishibashi said. “This Court’s conservative supermajority won’t defend us from corporate predators; only we can do that. We recommit to fighting for our communities and our planet. We will continue to push the Biden administration and Congress to defend us, keep our air clean, and shut down corporate polluters. We will also organize our local communities to protect and govern ourselves in the face of climate catastrophe and the corporate attack on democracy.”

“This disastrous decision confirms we can no longer count on the Supreme Court, which has been packed with right-wing extremists, to uphold critical environmental protection laws and the government’s ability to implement them. With almost every decision, this court demonstrates that it is hellbent on dismantling our system of government and rolling back basic governmental functions, like regulating clean air and water. In order to address the climate crisis we are facing Congress must pass climate legislation to invest in clean energy, frontline communities, and jobs. We must also expand the Court so that 6 hyper-partisan, unelected conservative justices can’t undo the laws of the land,” said Ann Clancy, Associate Director of Climate Policy, Indivisible. 

“Radicals in robes are severely restricting the federal government’s ability to protect people and the ecosystems that support life. In 2018, air pollution from burning fossil fuels like coal and gas was responsible for about 1 in 5 deaths worldwide. It is unconscionable that 6 Supreme Court Justices have ruled in favor of sacrificing more lives to enrich millionaire coal and oil barons. We should instead focus on securing a just transition to renewable energy that centers on the well-being of workers and communities. With their rulings on union organizing, voting rights, and abortion rights, the majority of this Court have revealed themselves to be beholden to corporate overlords and intent on dismantling the norms and institutions of democracy, including our ability to use the levers of government to protect the health and safety of our families, communities, and future generations,” said John Noel, Senior Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace USA.

“For decades, frontline environmental justice communities all across this country have waged powerful campaigns to protect our children and loved ones from breathing toxic air, drinking contaminated water, and facing life threatening illness from waste buried in the lands where we live, work, and play. All of this hangs in the balance in the face of this political moment,” said Jaron Browne, Organizing Director at Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. “The right-wing extremist Supreme Court majority has laid bare in decisions from undoing Roe to West Virginia their contempt for racial and gender justice, and their willingness to sacrifice our survival for the sake of corporate power and profit. They have already illegitimized themselves, and our power must be reclaimed in our organizing and resistance.”

The compromise of the Clean Air Act comes on the heels of a series of assaults by the Supreme Court on our democracy and human rights from the repeal of Roe v. Wade to limiting the ability to enforce Miranda rights. SCOTUS has gone as far as compromising the authority of states to protect their constituents, as witnessed by the overturning of state-based gun reform laws. Over the past month, the GOP-backed Supreme Court’s litany of dangerous decisions is proof that these unelected Justices are out of step with the American people.

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About the Green New Deal Network

The Green New Deal Network is a nationwide network of organizations committed to transforming our politics and economy with policies that address the climate crisis, that create good, union jobs, and that repair past harm and advance justice. The Network includes coalitions in 25 states, as well as a coordinating team of 15 national organizations: Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Greenpeace USA, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indivisible, Movement for Black Lives, MoveOn, People’s Action, Right To The City Alliance, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, US Climate Action Network, and the Working Families Party.