TEXAS, USA — In a setback for President Joe Biden’s climate agenda, the Supreme Court limited the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The 6-3 conservative majority ruling is being celebrated by Republican state leaders, while Texas environmental groups are raising the alarm.
“The Citizens' Environmental Coalition is appalled by this Supreme Court ruling,” Paige Powell, the deputy director for Citizens' Environmental Coalition said.
Climate change groups in Texas are speaking out against the ruling by the high court.
“When it comes to air pollution, climate and public health, time is not exactly what we have right now,” Jennifer Hadayia, executive director of Air Alliance Houston said.
The decision to prevent the EPA’s regulation of air pollutants is a win for Republican-led states, including Texas.
Attorney General Ken Paxton joined suit in fighting against the agency’s guidelines.
“We have a coal fire power plant about an hour outside of Houston,” Hadayia said.
Rice University researchers in 2018 found that the W.A. Parish coal-fired power plant southwest of Houston contributes an average of more than 100 excess deaths of Texans per year from the health impacts of air pollutants.
“Those are deaths that didn’t have to happen,” Hadayia said.
Climate activists say if nothing is changed to minimize harmful pollutants there will be a warming planet, extreme weather events and more chronic health issues.
“The attention now turns to a strong legislature and strong legislation of Congress can grant EPA the authority to regulate future carbon admissions then we need a congress that has the political will to do that,” Hadayia added.
KHOU 11 energy expert Ed Hirs says despite the ruling, it won’t matter much in the near term because of lower reliance and affordability, but if lawmakers want to act, “the tools have been there they just haven’t been picked up by congress.”
Senator Ted Cruz praised the decision in a tweet,
“We can have a clean environment and affordable energy through innovation and competition, not through executive overreach and burdensome government regulation," he said.