Joanna Klonsky

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EPA union: SCOTUS ruling declares war on EPA

CHICAGO (June 30, 2022)—Following is a statement from Nicole Cantello, President of American Federation of Labor (AFGE) Local 704, which represents Environmental Protection Agency workers in the Midwest—in response to today’s Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The Supreme Court has just declared war on AFGE Local 704, representing EPA workers in the six states of the Great Lakes—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin over the control of greenhouse gases. The ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, has shackled EPA workers—the nation’s largest and most powerful force for the environment—from defending the American people against the worst effects of climate change. Two months ago, the UN Secretary General said the world's biggest carbon emitters (like the U.S.) must drastically cut emissions starting now in 2022, if global climate catastrophe is to be averted.

“Many of us are scientists who have spent our entire careers fighting for a liveable clean energy future. Until the moment West Virginia was decided, the plain language of the Clean Air Act prevailed. Courts agreed that Congress imbued EPA with the authority to fight new air pollutants that threatened the nation. The result was a monumental success, improving air quality and public health in the Great Lakes and Chicago, saving thousands of lives every year. EPA workers powered that change—and we remain up to the challenge of defending our nation against the climate emergency. But tying the hands of the EPA to rein in harmful pollutants hurts communities of color and low-income communities, first and worst. Regulations of air pollutants, including those emitted by power plants, have been critical in reducing harms to fenceline communities.

"The SCOTUS’ gutting of the Clean Air Act has the effect of causing thousands of people to suffer grievous consequences because of the new radical ideas the majority Justices have used to destroy your future.

“Time is running out. We need to build resilience and slash pollution. With this decision, we are heading over a cliff, and the SCOTUS has taken off the breaks.

“There is overwhelming public support for strong EPA action on climate pollution. We can eliminate the largest sources of pollution to avoid the most alarming climate effects. We need immediate legislation to counteract the Supreme Court’s ruling—demand it now from your senators and representatives. Support EPA and EPA workers in their drive to stop the worst effects of climate change.”


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