PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Another ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court is sending shockwaves across the country, including in Oregon.
The High Court decided Thursday to limit the power of the Environmental Protection Agency, which could affect the fight against climate change.
The court ruled that Congress, not the EPA, is in charge of whether our energy comes from oil and gas, or renewable resources.
The case involved a coal-fired power plant in West Virginia. The court said Congress can decide whether to cap carbon dioxide emissions from power plants to fight global warming. But this spells trouble for climate activists as climate change bills have stalled in the U.S. Senate.
In Oregon, the state DEQ has approved a climate protection program to drastically lower statewide emissions, capping greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. In Washington state, Governor Inslee called the court’s decision “a wrecking ball.”
The Portland City Council is holding a hearing Thursday on a law to ban new or expanded bulk fossil fuel terminals and pipelines for coal, oil and natural gas. The Supreme Court’s decision is yet another that will mean more battles at the state level over climate change.
Oregon House Democrats denounced the decision by the Supreme Court in a statement.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling will give corporations and special fossil fuel interests even more power to determine our future and survival as a planet, despite decades of precedent and the many climate scientists repeatedly sounding the alarm that we face even more catastrophic disasters as greenhouse gas emissions rise.
This will be detrimental to our health, safety, and well-being, as communities across the planet face disasters like wildfires, ice storms, drought, flooding, and extreme temperatures. In Oregon, we’ve seen this crisis up close. During last year’s heat dome, dozens of people, including a farmworker, died due to excruciating temperatures. Our state is also grappling with severe drought that strains our natural resources and communities.
We know low-income, rural, BIPOC, youth, women, LGBTQIA+, immigrant and refugee communities are hit hardest by these climate disasters. In fact, studies show BIPOC communities experience disparate health outcomes from increasing environmental hazards that impact reproductive health. Years of redlining and racial discrimination have displaced communities of color into neighborhoods with low tree canopies and contaminated water and air. This means the need for environmental and reproductive justice is urgent in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling last week on Dobbs v. Jackson.
It is clear the Supreme Court has no interest in legal precedent, but rather, forcing through their own partisan agenda and special interests. It is therefore the responsibility of the Biden administration and Congress to use the power voters have clearly given them to put a check on the judicial branch.
In Oregon, we have responded to this crisis with vision and resolve, centering (on) communities most impacted.
Some of our accomplishments include:
- 100% Clean Energy: A commitment to 100% clean energy by 2040 and $50 million investment to jumpstart community renewable projects and jobs in Oregon with a focus on rural, coastal, low-income and BIPOC communities (HB 2021 – 2021);
- Pollution Reduction: The passage of new requirements for Metro counties to transition to cleaner truck engines to reduce harmful diesel pollution (HB 2007 – 2019);
- Clean Fuels Program: A program to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuel, leading to cleaner air, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and the development of a homegrown alternative fuels industry (SB 324 – 2015);
- Energy Affordability Act: This act allows for the Public Utility Commission’s to set rates based on customer income and other social equity or environmental justice factors that affect affordability for utility customers (HB 2475 – 2021);
- Moving Past Coal: A focused timeline to move Oregon completely off coal-generated power by 2030 and double renewable energy use in the state (SB 1547 – 2016); and more.
As Oregonians, we are committed to taking even more action, but we cannot do it alone. As a country, we have a small window to change course and show what is possible if we all work together. Now, more than ever, we must be united in the fight for a safer and more stable present and future for ourselves and the youth who will inherit it.”