On April 1, the Institute for Public Representation filed an amicus brief in State of West Virginia, et al. v. EPA, 15-1363 et al., the consolidated cases in which EPA’s Clean Power Plan is being challenged in the D.C. Circuit. IPR’s brief was filed on behalf of eight national medical and public health associations: the American Thoracic Society, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Medical Association, the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care, and the American Public Health Association. Collectively, these public health amici represent a broad spectrum of the United States medical and public health community.
IPR’s brief describes in detail the documented negative consequences for human health of carbon emission-fueled climate change. Health impacts from climate change include, among other things, heat-related illness, respiratory and cardiovascular harm caused by declines in air quality, and increased suffering by those with asthma and other allergic symptoms as pollen seasons increase in length and magnitude. Those impacts will have the most dramatic impact on vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, low-income communities, and communities of color. The failure to address the carbon emissions that fuel these changes will have adverse consequences for human health.
The Clean Power Plan is EPA’s exercise of its authority under § 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to drive reductions in carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants by 32 percent over 2005 levels by 2030. State and industry petitioners have challenged the legality of the Clean Power Plan on a number of grounds, including a claim that § 111(d) does not provide the authority for EPA to regulate carbon emissions from these plants. IPR’s brief argues that the Clean Power Plan was enacted, and has been amended, specifically to address the kinds of public health concerns described above. The language of the Act should therefore be interpreted through the lens of those goals.
Georgetown Law student Hampden Macbeth (L’16) helped research and draft the brief, along with graduate teaching fellow/staff attorney Sarah Fox.