The EPA’s ability to fight global warming is at stake

The Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to fight global warming is at stake and, unfortunately, it could lose out due to efforts funded by the Koch brothers to limit EPA moves.

Vice reports that the Supreme Court will decide next month whether or not to eliminate the EPA’s ability to fight global warming. The article strongly blames the Koch brothers, billionaires who have used their wealth since 1974 to fight government regulation. Vice pointed out that if the Supreme Court rules against the EPA, it would be one of the greatest victories in a generation. What’s at stake?

The case that could limit the EPA’s ability to fight global warming

The case, West Virginia vs. EPA, focuses on how much energy the EPA should have for power plants to produce environmentally friendly electricity. The Supreme Court will rule on an answer to this question:

“Does the Environmental Protection Agency have the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in virtually any industry, as long as it takes into account costs, non-atmospheric impacts and energy needs ?”

Vice noted that many watching the case believe the only reason the Supreme Court got involved was to set new limits on what the EPA can do. By agreeing to hear the case, he accepted challenges to EPA regulations set by former Presidents Obama and Trump. Vice says the obvious here:

“The court agreed to hear arguments on rules that do not currently exist. That’s why climate activists fear the court is moving forward with an ulterior motive: to take this chance to limit what the EPA can do in the future.

“The fight against these zombie regulations has now become a battle over how much leeway federal agencies, like the EPA, should have to set rules and regulations beyond the explicit language used in congressional legislation.”

The place of the Koch brothers

The article shares various sources that back up what the author was pointing out: The Koch Network has been a key ally in opposing the fight against climate change. Vice interviewed Christopher Leonard, the author of Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power of America. Leonardo said

“Charles Koch has been in the game of political influence since 1974 and the existential life or death battle for Charles Koch is carbon.”

Kert Davies, director of the Climate Investigations Center, said Vice that the Koch network has done more to oppose and deny climate science over the past 30 years than other fossil fuel sources.

“The Koch Foundation Network has done more to fund organizations that have both denied climate science and opposed any policy that would solve climate change over the past 30 years than probably any other fossil fuel source.”

What does the Koch network say?

The Koch Network told Vice that the group believed in a cleaner environment but did not believe government regulation was the answer.

“We all want a cleaner environment, but the way to get there is through bottom-up innovation, not top-down regulation.”

The EPA is essential in the fight against global warming

The role that the EPA plays in the fight against global warming is essential. Given the history of the Koch network and its statement, Vice is right: their dreams will come true if the Supreme Court rules against the EPA.

And I find it strange that the Supreme Court is concerned about what is technically based on a zombie decision.

Under Obama, the EPA was concentrate on combating climate change while developing the economy. During Obama’s tenure, carbon emissions fell by 9% while the US economy grew by more than 10%.

In stark contrast, the EPA was an almost entirely different agency under Trump. Trump’s focus wasn’t on clean air or global warming, and we’ve seen that reflected in the fact that more than 100 environmental laws have been dismantled.

Under Biden, the EPA seems to be returning to its normal state. What I disagree with is that the agency is closing its online archive starting in July. In other words, the public will lose access to some of its vast web resources containing information on important environmental issues, the agency’s past and present activities, and more. Although it is publicly funded, the public will no longer have access to it.

One thing is certain: the EPA plays an essential role in the fight against climate change. If this is limited by the Supreme Court, the United States will do less to fight climate change.



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Teresa H. Sadler