Supreme Court Ruling Shows Why States Must Lead on Climate Change

June 30, 2022

Joel Porter, CleanAIRE NC, (913) 271-2899
[email protected]

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA hobbles the Federal government’s ability to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions, the driving force behind climate change. This comes at a time when science tells us we only have a limited amount of time to cut emissions and protect North Carolinians who are already feeling the devastating impacts of the changing climate.

“The high court just made it more complicated for utilities to cut carbon pollution, potentially limiting the EPA’s authority to technological emission reduction methods, such as carbon capture and sequestration and energy efficiency measures, rather than market-based programs,” said Joel Porter, Policy Manager for CleanAIRE NC.

Our state is currently in the process of issuing a rule to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state effort to require energy sector polluters to cut emissions. The N.C. Utilities Commission is also developing a Carbon Plan to cut carbon emissions from Duke Energy’s North Carolina generation mix by 70% by 2030, and to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The two efforts are not currently linked together.

“Today’s ruling shows why the states must lead on the climate crisis. We urge the NC Department of Environmental Quality to issue their rule linking our state to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and the NC Utilities Commission to establish a strong, equitable Carbon Plan that expedites the closure of dirty and uneconomic coal plants,” said Porter.

Porter continued, “The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and the NC Utilities Commission should be working together to hold polluters accountable on emissions reductions in a cost-effective way.”

Duke Energy, the largest electricity utility in the state, issued a draft Carbon Plan to the Utilities Commission in May to cut emissions. Unfortunately, only one of four pathways would meet the state’s reduction targets by 2030 and nothing is included to protect low- and middle-income ratepayers from cost increases. None of the pathways expedite closures of high-emitting fossil fuel plants.


CleanAIRE NC is a statewide nonprofit organization advocating for the health of all North Carolinians by pursuing equitable and collaborative solutions that address climate change and air pollution.

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