Christie Whitman

February 28, 2022

Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case challenging EPA’s long-standing authority to address climate pollution from power plants. Two decades ago, in the Whitman case, Justice Scalia wrote for a unanimous Court affirming EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to protect the American people from air pollution and rejecting similarly sweeping legal challenges. Justice Scalia held EPA’s authority “fits comfortably within the scope of discretion permitted by our precedent.”

While West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, and other coal-powered states have brought this case to the court, the directly regulated companies will be presenting argument before the Supreme Court on Monday supporting EPA’s authority. That’s because power plant owners recognize the importance of addressing climate pollution in a common sense way, cost-effective solutions are at hand, and they are creating jobs in all parts of our nation. And they recognize the destabilizing impact that the coal companies’ arguments would have on the industry. The power companies are not alone. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Lung Association have provided crucial health information supporting EPA’s authority to address climate pollution. Our nation’s leading businesses, employers and manufacturers including Apple, Amazon, Cummins, and Siemens are supporting EPA action before the High Court. They too recognize common sense EPA action under the Clean Air Act strengthens our environment and our economy.

Americans everywhere are already facing harm from climate change. Sea levels are rising and threatening to flood our coasts and wildfires, hurricanes, and other climate-related disasters are growing more frequent, more dangerous, and more costly. If the Court undermines EPA’s ability to address power plant pollution, it would damage our ability to protect ourselves and our communities. It would put the health and safety of Americans at risk. Such an action could also damage our national security and our economy. The world is racing to develop new clean energy technologies to fight climate change, and those technologies will be the industries – and the jobs – of the future. We need to make sure that American companies are the ones that lead the world in those technologies, and that the jobs created go to our workers here at home. EPA standards are vital for helping American businesses with the long-term planning and investment needed for clean energy innovation. Moreover, the tragedy in Ukraine underscores the national security imperatives of clean energy solutions that do not depend on fuels from hostile nations – and that are made in America.

As a life-long Republican and a former Governor of the great state of New Jersey, I know that climate change is a threat to us all and that job creation is a priority for leaders on both sides of the aisle. As a former head of EPA, I know the agency has the expertise to address climate pollution and the clear authority – from Congress, through our nation’s Clean Air Act – to do so. As an American, I know that we’ll all be better off with an EPA that is able to do its job.