Controversial Supreme Court case threatens to dismantle government’s ability to combat climate change, the biggest threat to national parks
Washington, DC – The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The case is hugely significant as it threatens to weaken the EPA’s authority to regulate power plants with disastrous implications for the United States’ ability to combat dangerous climate change and air pollution.
The brief opposes a tenuous legal argument, proposed by fossil fuel companies and political allies in response to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, that seeks to challenge the extent of the EPA’s authority. The opponents’ argument relies on an interpretation of a fringe legal theory which claims that any regulations that have a significant political or economic impact would need to be approved by Congress.
“This case threatens to dismantle our government’s ability to reduce carbon emissions when climate action is urgently needed to protect our planet, people and national parks from devastating climate change,” said Stephanie Kodish, senior director and counsel for clean air and climate at the NPCA. “The EPA’s authority to regulate polluters has been critical in protecting national parks and combatting the climate crisis. If the Supreme Court sides with polluters, the impact of that decision could be disastrous for the country’s ability to make the reductions in carbon emissions needed to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.”
Climate change, accelerated by the burning of fossil fuels, is the biggest threat to national parks. National parks warmed at more than twice the national average between 1895 and 2010, and are routinely threatened by climate impacts such rising sea levels, increased fire risk, extreme weather damage, droughts, receding glaciers, and damage to wildlife habitats.
The authority of federal agencies such as the EPA have been critical in the protection of national park sites and the reduction of carbon emissions.
The NPCA’s brief discusses the consequences of climate change across national parks from Everglades to Yosemite and the obligation Congress conferred on EPA to protect these public lands and their resources.
About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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