WASHINGTON - This morning, Chair Kathy Castor of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Chairman Tom Carper of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a virtual press conference to urge the Supreme Court to protect the Clean Air Act as justices begin oral arguments in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. (Video Available Here.)
Chair Castor's remarks (as prepared for delivery) are below:
"Today, Republicans in Congress are asking the Supreme Court to gut the Clean Air Act, which has protected families from air pollution for over half a century. With this attack on the EPA, Republicans are throwing families under the bus - all in the name of boosting the profits of coal executives.
"The Clean Air Act is a crucial tool in our fight to solve the climate crisis. By setting strict standards on harmful pollutants, the Clean Air Act has already reduced the amount of harmful pollutants - including carbon monoxide, lead, and particulate matter - by nearly 74% over the last five decades. It has also helped us make progress reducing our emissions of heat-trapping gases, which fuel the climate crisis and pose great risks to our communities. That includes carbon dioxide, which has reached unprecedented levels that are contributing to the sharp rise in global temperatures.
"Allowing temperatures to keep rising will bring devastating consequences, as the IPCC has warned us, and as we’ve seen already across America. Those consequences are costly; just last year, American communities faced $145 billion in damages from just 20 major disasters. We need every single tool in the toolbox to solve this crisis. And that especially includes the Clean Air Act. That’s why more than 190 Democrats are standing up to defend the EPA - and to defend families against Republican attacks on these safeguards.
"Here’s the bottom line. Republicans don’t have a plan to reduce pollution. Republicans don’t have a plan to lower the costs of energy. And Republicans don’t have a plan to tackle the climate crisis. If it was up to Republicans, we would go back to the days when polluters would write their own rules. If it was up to Republicans, we would go back to a time when polluters could recklessly endanger the health of the American people without any consequence. Republicans are essentially asking the Supreme Court to let coal companies pollute without limits. And if they win, they will pass on the costs of that pollution to American families.
"Today we’re challenging Republicans to explain why they’re so focused on polluting the air we breathe. And we’re urging the Court to recognize EPA’s authority to address heat-trapping gases, something the Justices have already recognized in the past. The Clean Air Act was passed and amended by lawmakers of both parties. And it was reaffirmed on a bipartisan basis just last summer, when we voted to strengthen safeguards against methane pollution.
"Republicans need to stop playing politics with the health of American families. And they need to take this crisis seriously, because we cannot continue passing the costs of pollution onto vulnerable communities."
- On January 25, 2022, Chairs Castor, Pallone, Jr., and Carper led over 190 congressional Democrats to file an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case of West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of the EPA’s authority to tackle the climate crisis, protect the public from dangerous air pollution, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- The amicus brief supports the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act, recognizing its obligation and authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It also rejects spurious arguments made by congressional Republicans in their own amicus brief, in which they wrongly challenge the EPA’s authority to address climate pollution.
- The amicus brief was signed by 163 Members of the House of Representatives and 29 Senators, including Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer.