New Haven, CT – Environmentalists rallied on the New Haven Green Friday evening in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia v. EPA, calling on President Biden to appoint federal judges who will support climate action; on Congress and the Connecticut General Assembly to pass stronger climate protections, including providing stringent accountability and enforcement provisions to the Global Warming Solutions Act; and on voters to support climate champions in the 2022 elections and onward.
Chris Kelly, legal fellow at Save the Sound, said: “The Supreme Court’s ruling is contrary to science, public health, and justice. While this makes the climate fight harder to win, the fight is not unwinnable. EPA still has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate pollutants from power plants and should issue the strictest regulations possible. Likewise, cities and states can do their part to decarbonize and protect their communities by investing in clean, electrified transportation solutions and by strengthening the Global Warming Solutions Act to hold Connecticut accountable for its emissions goals.”
Kim Stoner, New Haven activist, said: “To combat the climate crisis, advocates should join forces in pushing an amendment to the Constitution of Connecticut that ensures everyone have a right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. New York passed a similar amendment to their state’s constitution. Let’s do the same thing here.”
Kat Morris, MPP, member of the CT Equity & Environmental Justice Advisory Council, said: “In the midst of recent Supreme Court rulings (from guns to Roe, and now EPA), it’s easy to lose faith in this country’s capacity for positive change. Still, I hope that our collective disappointment will inspire action with a newfound sense of confidence that we, the people, can do for each other what the Supreme Court has not. We can and must move towards progress by making our policies, programs, institutions, and culture reflect the belief that life will always be worth more than profits and power. Let us be courageous enough to create the changes we need to see in our world today, not tomorrow.”
Samantha Dynowski, state director of the Sierra Club Connecticut, said: “Scientists warn that we are running out of time to combat the climate crisis, and no one—especially the Supreme Court—should be making it harder for our government to use every tool possible to protect our families and our communities. Together we must keep up the momentum for climate action, to fight for strong climate provisions in budget reconciliation, and to make real climate progress across the state in the months and years to come. It is up to Congress, the Biden Administration, and leaders at every level of government to act quickly to pass bold climate legislation—our future depends on it.”
Sharon Lewis, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition for Economic & Environmental Justice and member of the CT Equity & Environmental Justice Advisory Council, said: “The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decision-maker on climate policy. This ruling clearly undermines the broad powers of the EPA to regulate pollution, which is needed to address the deepening climate crisis. After fighting for decades against environmental racism it’s hard to find faith in our government to do the right thing. Frontline communities most impacted by inaction must keep the faith and finish the race for justice. It’s not over. Just a hurdle.”
Adrian Huq, youth organizer at the New Haven Climate Movement, said: “I am frustrated that the Supreme Court justices have sided with corporate interests and are allowing polluters an easy way out, especially at a time when we should be drastically cutting our greenhouse gas emissions to have a chance at a safer climate future. I call on our state’s elected officials at all levels to denounce this ruling and solidify their commitment to climate mitigation work.”
Matthew Plourd, co-director at Sunrise Movement Connecticut, said: “What the Supreme Court did last week not only further solidified a complete absence of trust in our most basic institutions, felt acutely by an entire generation, but, seemingly out of thin air, it has gifted itself the grotesque authority to strike down agency regulations that combat the climate crisis at the scale that’s required. Despite this, young people will continue to unite behind frontline organizers and movements for environmental justice to build a greener future together, even if the nation’s highest court tries to demolish our progress at every turn.”
Tenaya Taylor, executive director of the Nonprofit Accountability Group, said: “The U.S. Supreme Court’s West Virginia v EPA decision is not only an environmental setback, but a racial justice issue. Nationwide, Black people face the highest risks for death from power plants’ fine particulate pollution. This decision, in addition to the Court’s decision overturning Roe v Wade, has my community frustrated and scared. The Nonprofit Accountability Group will continue to organize for intersectional justice in attempt to mitigate harms for those who are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis.”
Endorsing organizations of Friday’s rally included Save the Sound, New Haven Climate Movement, Sierra Club Connecticut, Nonprofit Accountability Group, CT Coalition for Economic & Environmental Justice, and the Sunrise Movement Connecticut.