GW Experts Available: Supreme Court Ruling on West Virginia v. EPA 

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on West Virginia v. the Environmental Protection Agency in a case that could limit EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Environmental and legal experts say that if the High Court decides to reduce the agency’s ability to set emission standards for greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide the impact would be profound. Such pollutants fuel climate change and can lead to extreme weather events including heat waves. They also can lead to widespread public health harms including a rise in asthma and other life threatening health problems.

The George Washington University has a number of legal, environmental and public health experts that can comment on the case. To arrange an interview with a GW expert, please contact GW media at [email protected].

Public Health

Lynn Goldman, Dean of the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health, is a pediatrician and epidemiologist who is also an expert on environmental health. She previously served as an assistant administrator at the EPA and can discuss the public health harms that could result if the HIgh Court interferes with the EPA’s ability to reduce climate pollutants. She and other public health leaders recently submitted an amicus brief in the case, supporting the EPA.

“If the Supreme Court limits the EPA’s authority to regulate pollutants like carbon dioxide, the public health and environmental consequences would be profoundly damaging to human health, the planet and future generations,” Goldman said.

Susan Anenberg, Director of the GW Climate and Health Institute and associate professor of environmental and occupational health and global health at GW, is an expert on the health implications of air pollution and climate change. She also was an author of the public health amicus brief in the Supreme Court case.

“The outcome of this case could have serious consequences for the government’s ability to set emissions standards for major greenhouse gas sources across the US,” Anenberg said. “We are already seeing the public health damages from climate change, and these health impacts will grow in the future unless emissions are reduced dramatically.”

Sabrina McCormick, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at GW, is an expert on climate change, extreme weather and how the legal system plays a growing and underappreciated role in climate policy. Her 2017 study of climate lawsuits showed that air pollution and coal-fired power plants were at the center of most cases filed in the courts. She can also discuss how the Supreme Court’s decision could affect society’s ability to curb the damaging consequences of climate change.

“A decision by the High Court to curtail EPA’s authority to regulate climate pollutants would accelerate the damage caused by climate change,” McCormick said..”Such a decision would also make it much harder for our cities and society to mitigate the extreme weather and the threat to human  health.”

Legal

Robert L. Glicksman is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on environmental, natural resources, and administrative law issues. He can speak on the  regulatory changes the decision creates for the EPA.