Determining the Impact of the Recent SCOTUS Ruling Against the EPA

BALTIMORE, MD, July 15, 2022 – New audio is available for media use featuring Erin Baker on determining the impact of the recent Supreme Court ruling against the EPA. She is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and the Faculty Director of The Energy Transition Institute at the University of Massachusetts. This content is made available by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences. All sound should be attributed to Erin Baker. What follows are 4 questions and responses. These responses were provided on July 14, 2022.



Question 1: How would you describe the case, “West Virginia v. the Environmental Protection Agency?”

Time Cue: 0:26, Soundbite Duration: :06

“Well, what it comes down to is that it says the EPA cannot broadly regulate firms around climate change.”  



Question 2: What impact will the negative ruling against the EPA have on progress towards fighting against climate change in general?

Time Cue: 0:34, Soundbite Duration: 1:24

“It will likely slow down the U.S. response to climate change and this is bad for the U.S. and bad for humanity. The key problem is a lack of a coherent national climate rules. This makes any responses by states or cities or firms, both less effective and more costly. Because if one state does something, another state might respond by having more pollution, and so this makes everything very difficult. And it's really a problem because it means those firms, utilities or states who want to do the right thing for their children and grandchildren are being unnecessarily penalized.

“At the same time, this is shortsighted, not good for technological change and not good for U.S. competitiveness. When firms have really clear expectations of how they're going to be regulated, they innovate in response. Research has shown, though, when it comes to technological change, we tend to underestimate our ingenuity. The Clean Air Act was a really good example. It cost much, much less than was expected. We have a chance to do this, or we had a chance to do this with climate change, but unfortunately this ruling is going to make it much more difficult.”



Question 3: Since the court decided that the EPA’s enforcement powers must be curtailed when it comes to enforcing the Clean Air Act, what is an alternative approach to combatting climate change? 

Time Cue: 02:16, Soundbite Duration: :31

“Well, what we're probably going to see in the near term is local action. That's what we've been seeing and we're going to need to continue that. Local action by the states, by cities and regions and by individual firms. This isn't ideal, but we need to move forward. Now, ideally, we will get national action. This is going to have to be taken by Congress. I'm not sure if we're going to see it this term or even in the next couple terms, but this is really where we need to go.”



Question 4: How would you describe your work at The Energy Transition Institute at the University of Massachusetts? 

Time Cue: 03:02, Soundbite Duration: :44

“Our focus at ETI, the Energy Transition Institute, is research at the intersection of energy technology and social equity. There's been quite a bit of work looking at new technologies to help us transition to a low carbon economy and there's been some work looking at the social justice impacts of the energy system. But we really want to combine these two things and take a very kind of sophisticated look at the technologies in energy transition, how those affect justice and how we can use new technologies to build a more just energy system in the future.” 

Determining the Impact of the Recent SCOTUS Ruling Against the EPA

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