Jul 1, 2022
In a blow to climate activism, the Supreme Court on Thursday severely limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to place emission caps on power plants. In the case, West Virginia v. EPA, several states led by West Virginia and fossil fuel companies fought against the regulations imposed by the Obama-era Clean Air Act. The 6-3 ruling by the court’s conservative justices ultimately weakens the federal agency’s authority to limit carbon emissions and combat the worst effects of the climate crisis. We look at the decision’s impact on vulnerable communities, particularly lower-income, Black and Brown residents who live close to coal-fired power plants, as well as the climate emergency more broadly. “They’ve put people’s lives in danger, and they have also put in place steps that will accelerate the climate crisis,” says Mustafa Ali, formerly head of the environmental justice program at the Environmental Protection Agency.