In this day and age of climate change, a major blow has been struck against the U.S. agency whose very name says its job is to protect the environment. The US Supreme Court ruled that the EPA cannot issue regulations without clear congressional authorization for them.
The Supreme Court has taken away the EPA's ability to regulate existing power plant carbon emissions
Environmental groups like Wild Earth Guardians are highly critical of the decision.
Jeremy Nichols, the climate and energy program director for the group told CBS4, "We are incredibly disappointed and frankly frightened by the Supreme Court's ruling today."
In Colorado, coal power plants are already in line to be shut down by 2031. Gov. Jared Polis noted, "In Colorado, we are showing the nation how cost savings from clean energy is rapidly reducing pollution, saving people money, and creating jobs."
Environmental Attorney Joel Johnston of Hall and Estill agrees Colorado is in good shape through state regulations.
"States can have their own environmental standards, but they have to be as least as stringent as the federal standards. Colorado has surpassed that," said Johnston.
In a statement Xcel Energy wrote, "(Xcel Energy) already surpassed the goals of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan in 2016 and has reduced carbon emissions 50% since 2005."
The vote by the high court was 6-3 by the high court with Colorado's Neil Gorsuch siding with the conservative majority.
Gorsuch's mother Anne was a controversial EPA administrator under then President Ronald Reagan until she resigned.
The high court's ruling also drew criticism from the union for EPA employees in Colorado:
Britta Copt, President of AFGE Local 3607 -- Representing EPA employees in Denver, Colorado and Helena, Montana -- released the following statement:
The Supreme Court's decision today in the West Virginia v. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) case attacks EPA workers. It strips federal EPA scientists of their ability to help the American public tackle the worst effects of climate change, and the EPA of its power to protect the environment and our communities from a worsening climate crisis.
There is an extreme and well-funded minority that wants to use this case to push its deregulatory agenda and tie the hands of EPA scientists to fight pollution and to protect air, water and our families from the climate crisis.
Let us be clear - this decision is a colossal mistake. It removes power from any President to implement a plan through the Clean Air Act that will avert the imminent climate disaster we are facing. Hundreds of thousands of people will suffer. Many will die. Any action to avert that future will require all of us to take immediate and forceful action.
Every American, regardless of race, gender, income or geography wants the same thing: to be able to provide a better future for our children. Together, we can accomplish long-term, meaningful change. You are the most powerful decision makers in our fight for climate justice. You must demand climate justice from your Representatives and Senators, and demand that they reverse this Supreme Court decision. Stand in solidarity with EPA scientists and fight for EPA and all other agencies that protect our environment and our communities.
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