Merkley: Supreme Court Decision Guts EPA’s Authority to Combat Climate Chaos

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after the US Supreme Court released their decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

“The American people don’t want dirty air, extreme weather, and climate chaos. But that is what the right-wing Supreme Court majority is forcing on us by once again doing fossil fuel executives’ bidding, even at the expense of judicial precedent, common sense, and our shared future.

“Air pollution is a lethal threat, which is why Congress passed a law giving the EPA the responsibility for reducing pollution. Fossil fuel companies may want to prioritize their profits ahead of kids’ health, farmers’ livelihoods, working families’ homes, and our national security—but it’s unconscionable for justices handpicked by the Federalist Society to go to extreme lengths to help them do it. It’s particularly egregious that the Court’s conservative majority would violate centuries of precedent by going out of its way to consider this case when there’s no pending EPA rule to even strike down.  It’s a testament to how far they will bend the rules to serve the corporate interests who financed their dark money confirmation campaigns, and to how far they have dragged down the once-great institution of the Court.

“While climate chaos is an existential threat to our way of life, this decision is about even more. It’s the latest in a long line of dangerous decisions by an extremist Court to roll back fundamental protections for Americans. The Supreme Court is replacing government ‘of, by, and for the people,’ with ‘of, by and for the powerful.’ Today’s decision is an egregious giveaway to powerful corporations at the expense of the people, but we will not stop fighting to protect our health, our democracy and our future.”

Merkley – a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee – joined more than 190 Congressional Democrats in submitting an amicus brief to the Supreme Court that supported the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to protect the public from harmful pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and address climate chaos.