High court leaves in place 2017 appeals court decision authored by Brett Kavanaugh striking down Obama-era EPA rule


Washington (October 9, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) released the following statement after the Supreme Court chose not to hear a case today on the Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule limiting use of a fast-acting and powerful class of greenhouse gases used in consumer products, known as hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs. The Supreme Court’s decision leaves in place a 2-to-1 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Mexichem Fluor v. EPA, which derailed the EPA’s rules on these pollutants – rules that would have required companies to use safer alternatives in air conditioners, refrigerators, and other household products. The 2017 D.C. Circuit ruling was written by newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he served on that court.


The Supreme Court’s inaction comes in the wake of a new special report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In this report, 91 scientists worldwide highlight the need for even swifter climate action than previously thought. Trends in the report point to increasing intensity and frequency of climate and weather extremes occurring. The report calls for limiting warming to 1.5°C (rather than 2°C), in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This plan of action, supported by the best newly available science, would require reducing carbon pollution by as much as 45% from 2010 levels by 2030.


“We need action on climate change now and with more urgency than ever. This administration has stuck its head in the sand as sea levels rise. Everyone around the world is talking about climate change — except those in the White House,” said Senator Markey.


“To reach our climate goals, we need all of our electricity to come from renewable energy technology,” continued Senator Markey. “It’s time to get to work investing in the clean energy future, not the dirty fossil fuel past.”


Earlier today, Senator Markey led a letter with 22 other senators requesting that the EPA extend the comment period for the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule —­­­­­ the proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan — by at least 60 additional days, through December 31. It also requests at least three additional public hearings, including in areas most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Under the ACE rule, increased emissions of pollutants such as mercury would cause an additional 1,400 premature deaths, 140,000 school absences, and 120,000 cases of exacerbated asthma annually by 2030. “Given these extremely harmful potential consequences, the public needs additional time to assess EPA’s modeling methodology for determining the health and environmental impacts of the proposed rule,” said the senators.


A copy of the senators’ letter to Acting Administrator Wheeler can be found HERE