January 26, 2022

Senator Hirono Joins 190+ Congressional Democrats in Amicus Brief Defending EPA’s Clean Air Act Authority

(Washington, D.C.) — Today, Senator Hirono, along with more than 190 congressional Democrats, submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a case looking at the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

“In Hawaii, we understand the sense of urgency in addressing climate change as we continue to experience its devastating impacts. Reducing carbon pollution from power plants is critical to curbing the climate crisis, yet Republicans continue to undermine the EPA’s legal authority to cut fossil fuel emissions. That’s why I joined my Democratic colleagues in supporting the EPA’s ability to cut pollution and protect families in Hawaii and across the country from dangerous greenhouse gases,” said Senator Hirono.

The brief supports EPA’s authority under the CAA to protect the public from harmful pollution, reduce greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions, and address the climate crisis. It also rejects spurious arguments made by congressional Republicans in their own amicus brief, in which they wrongly challenge the EPA’s authority to address climate pollution.

192 congressional Democrats—29 in the Senate and 163 in the House—signed onto the amicus brief, which argues that:

  • By enacting the CAA), Congress gave the EPA broad authority to regulate air pollution like  carbon dioxide (CO2). Section 111(d) of the CAA serves as a gap-filling provision to give the EPA flexibility to address pollution problems that developed since the CAA was passed over 50 years ago.
  • Congress has taken an all-hands-on-deck approach to a problem as complex as climate change. The Republican arguments that new bills that seek to address the climate crisis somehow limit the authority of the EPA or repeal its existing authority do not hold water.
  • Congress explicitly affirmed the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) like CO2 with a bipartisan vote on the resolution last year to re-impose an Obama-era rule supporting the EPA's regulation of methane emissions.
  • Republicans have failed to curtail the EPA's authority through Congress. They are now asking the court to do what they haven't been able to do legislatively.
  • Congress is creating as many avenues as possible to deal with the climate crisis. The Court should tread carefully in curtailing any specific tool, including the CAA.

 In addition to Senator Hirono, on the Senate side, signers include: Senator Thomas R. Carper of Delaware; Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York; Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts; Senator Angus S. King, Jr. of Maine; Senator Cory A. Booker of New Jersey; Senator Christopher A. Coons of Delaware; Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland; Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota; Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois; Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin; Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois; Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire; Senator Dianne Feinstein of California; Senator Alex Padilla of California; Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico; Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania; Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon; Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon; Senator Michael F. Bennet of Colorado; Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii; Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland; Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey; Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York; Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Senator Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico; and Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont.

 On the House side, signers include: House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Castor, House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair Pallone, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, Whip Clyburn, Assistant Speaker Clark, Democratic Caucus Chairman Jeffries, and Reps. Adams, Aguilar, Allred, Auchincloss, Barragán, Bass, Beatty, Beyer, Blumenauer, Blunt Rochester, Bonamici, Bourdeaux, Bowman, Anthony Brown, Shontel Brown, Brownley, Bush, Butterfield, Carbajal, Cárdenas, Carson, Troy Carter, Cartwright, Casten, Castro, Cicilline, Clarke, Cleaver, Cohen, Connolly, Costa, Courtney, Crist, Crow, Danny Davis, Dean, DeFazio, DeGette, DelBene, DeSaulnier, Deutch, Dingell, Doggett, Doyle, Evans, Escobar, Eshoo, Espaillat, Foster, Frankel, Gallego, Garamendi, Chuy García, Gomez, Grijalva, Hayes, Huffman, Jackson Lee, Jacobs, Jayapal, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Hank Johnson, Jones, Kahele, Kaptur, Keating, Kildee, Kilmer, Kim, Krishnamoorthi, Kuster, Langevin, Larson, Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Leger Fernández, Andy Levin, Mike Levin, Lieu, Lowenthal, Lynch, Malinowski, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Manning, Matsui, McBath, McCollum, McEachin, McGovern, McNerney, Meeks, Meng, Mfume, Moore, Moulton, Nadler, Neguse, Newman, Norton, Ocasio-Cortez, O’Halleran, Panetta, Pascrell, Payne, Perlmutter, Peters, Pingree, Pocan, Porter, Pressley, Price, Quigley, Raskin, Rice, Ross, Rush, San Nicolas, Sánchez, Sarbanes, Scanlon, Schakowsky, Schrader, Schrier, David Scott, Bobby Scott, Schiff, Schneider, Sewell, Sherrill, Sires, Soto, Adam Smith, Speier, Stevens, Strickland, Suozzi, Takano, Mike Thompson, Titus, Tlaib, Tonko, Norma Torres, Ritchie Torres, Trahan, Trone, Veasey, Velázquez, Wasserman Schultz, Waters, Watson Coleman, Welch, Wild, Williams, Wilson, and Yarmuth.

 Full text of the amicus brief is available here.

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