Applaud Decision to Regulate Carbon Pollution


Target: John Roberts, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Goal: Commend the Supreme Court for upholding environmental officials’ right to regulate carbon emissions from big industry

Attempts to limit the pollution driving climate change have won a major victory. In a strong 7-2 vote the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can regulate carbon emissions from sources such as power plants and oil refineries already subject to permitting for conventional pollutants. Larger manufacturers can also be regulated, while millions of small-scale polluters like schools, office buildings and small businesses will be exempt. Although the court disagreed with the EPA’s proposal for determining exemptions, a compromise will allow the agency to get to the same results via different means.

The case was brought forward by a coalition of electric utility companies and national trade associations calling themselves the Utility Air Regulatory Group. The group argued that carbon pollution should not be regulated in the same way as conventional air pollutants because it does not fall under the rubric of pollutants whose limitation is necessary to “prevent significant deterioration of air quality.” A similar argument was used in the 2007 Massachusetts vs. Environmental Protection Agency case, in which the court ruled 5-4 that carbon pollution posed a real and tangible threat and was thus subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.

An EPA spokesperson said in a statement following the ruling that “the Supreme Court’s decision is a win for our efforts to reduce carbon pollution because it allows EPA, states, and other permitting authorities to continue to require carbon pollution limits in permits for the largest pollution sources.” The decision comes on the heels of several recent rulings which have upheld the agency’s obligation to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.

Thank the Supreme Court for allowing science, rather than corporate interests, to determine America’s response to global warming.


Dear Chief Justice Roberts,

Global climate disruption is the defining challenge of our time. We cannot expect to leave future generations a habitable planet if the science of resource management and climate adaptation is trumped by nearsighted corporate interests.

The possibility of stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gas levels in this century depends on the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon pollution. Thank you for upholding our most effective tool in the fight against climate change by voting to allow EPA’s regulation of carbon emissions from major pollution sources.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Steve Petteway via Wikimedia Commons

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