City Attorney David Chiu

City Attorney Chiu statement on harmful SCOTUS climate change ruling

Decision is a major blow to U.S. efforts to curb climate change, as reports warn immediate action is necessary to stave off disastrous impacts

SAN FRANCISCO (June 30, 2022) — City Attorney David Chiu issued the following statement today after the U.S. Supreme Court severely curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to combat climate change in a ruling in West Virginia v. EPA. The decision appears to undermine the longstanding legal doctrine known as “Chevron deference,” which stems from a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision that gave federal agencies deference in how to interpret ambiguities in statutes that agencies are responsible for implementing.

City Attorney David Chiu
City Attorney David Chiu

“I am sickened by the direction this Supreme Court is taking our country. Today, the Court’s activist conservative majority took yet another step towards implementing their radical right wing agenda.

In the past week, a majority of Justices have shown they do not care if women die without reproductive health care, if our streets are awash in deadly weapons, or if church and state are no longer separated. Apparently, they also do not care if our human race has a habitable planet to live on in the coming years.

Climate change is already here. Californians know this all too well, as our state has been burning in longer, disastrous fire seasons. Study after study conclude that we will face catastrophe as a species if we do not take immediate drastic action.

Instead of heeding those warnings, the Court chose to make it harder to save our planet. This ruling will also have implications for federal agencies beyond the EPA, making it harder to provide aid and run programs Americans have come to rely on.

If the EPA is now hamstrung, Congress must act immediately to combat the existential threat. The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office will continue to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the damage they have caused and work with state and local partners to curtail climate change.

We all need to take every step necessary to reduce carbon emissions. Our lives and the lives of future generations depend on it.”