Supreme Court Reaffirms EPA's Authority to Act on Climate

Supreme Court Reaffirms EPA's Authority to Act on Climate

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, agreeing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the Clean Air Act requires many new large-scale industrial facilities to obtain construction permits limiting their emissions of greenhouse gases -- including dangerous air pollutants like carbon dioxide and methane. The ruling amends the lower court’s decision, however, by requiring that permitting for other air pollutants act as a trigger for greenhouse gas permitting. EPA retains its authority to establish nationwide standards for climate pollution for large-scale industrial facilities as proposed in its Clean Power Plan.

In response, Joanne Spalding, Senior Managing Attorney for the Sierra Club, issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court’s ruling means that the largest new industrial facilities will need to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. The Court’s ruling that the emissions of other pollutants trigger the requirement to limit greenhouse gases means, in practice, that all of the biggest polluters will be subject to greenhouse gas limits, as they have been for the past 3 years.

“Twice before, the Court has affirmed the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect communities from dangerous climate pollution, including carbon dioxide and methane [Mass. v. EPA and AEP v. Conn.], under the Clean Air Act. These gases cause climate disruption and extreme weather and make other air pollutants more harmful to the health of our children and communities.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit

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