The Supreme Court has curtailed the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in a decision that could limit other federal agencies' regulatory powers.
Catherine Kling is an environmental economist and an expert in water quality modeling who served for 10 years on the EPA's Science Advisory Board. Kling says the Supreme Court's decision to weaken the regulatory power of the EPA could result in preventable human health and ecological damages, putting not just air quality, but also water quality, at risk.
"Weakening the power of the EPA to regulate and enforce dangerous air pollutants that were not mentioned explicitly in the Clean Air Act raises concerns for other pollutants. For example, we now understand that PFAS pollution of water is very dangerous, yet this contaminant was unknown when the Clean Water Act was passed 50 years ago. As our scientific understanding of the effect of water and air pollution advances, the ruling suggests that unless legislation can promptly be passed in each instance, unnecessary and avoidable human health and ecological damages will occur."