BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia v. EPA that prohibits the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from broadly regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act.
“Today’s ruling in West Virginia v. EPA is a setback for public health and climate action that goes against congressional intent. This troubling decision not only undermines President Joe Biden’s whole-of-government approach to combatting dangerous carbon pollution, but also makes it more challenging to meet our nation’s international climate commitments. The opinion threatens public health, local economies, and infrastructure in Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay, which is uniquely vulnerable to extreme weather events and slow-onset climate impacts. Our coastal communities are already experiencing sea level rise at nearly double the global average.
“The dissent, led by Justice Kagan and joined by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor, cuts to the heart of the matter: ‘Today, the Court strips the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the power Congress gave it to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.’
A coalition of states and coal companies, led by West Virginia, petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit that struck down the Trump administration’s so-called Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which gutted the Obama administration’s more comprehensive Clean Power Plan that established emission guidelines for states to follow in limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Senator Cardin was the lead sponsor of S.J.Res.53 (116) – A joint resolution that nullifies the ACE rule, also known as the Dirty Power rule.
“I was proud to join U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Carper’s amicus brief with nearly 200 Members of Congress attesting EPA was broadly authorized in Section 111 of the Clean Air Act to select the ‘best system of emission reduction’ for power plants,” Senator Cardin added. “The Court carried out its wish to curb EPA’s authority to protect public health from greenhouse emissions from power plants before a new rule is proposed. We must now ensure EPA promulgates the strongest protections possible under this grim reality.”