STATEMENT: Catholic Climate Covenant disappointed in SCOTUS blockage of EPA air pollution plan

The Supreme Court of the United States blocked a regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designed to reduce ozone emissions on June 27 by a 5-4 decision. The decision was prompted by the case Ohio v. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA’s “Good Neighbor Plan” is a regulatory initiative aimed at reducing air pollution that crosses state lines, thereby helping downwind states meet national air quality standards. This plan, officially known as the “Good Neighbor Plan for 2015 Ozone NAAQS” (National Ambient Air Quality Standards), addresses the interstate transport of ozone pollution. 

The Supreme Court’s decision to halt the EPA’s Good Neighbor Plan carries significant consequences for both environmental regulation and public health. Designed under the Clean Air Act, the Good Neighbor Plan aims to mitigate cross-state air pollution by mandating that upwind states curb emissions that contribute to ozone pollution, commonly known as smog, in downwind states. The plan focuses on reducing emissions from major polluters, such as power plants and other high-emission industries, with the goal of improving air quality across state borders to save thousands of lives and prevent millions of asthma attacks annually.

Dan Misleh, Founder and Executive Director of Catholic Climate Covenant, said, “The Covenant is disappointed in the Supreme Court decision to block the EPA’s Good Neighbor plan. Catholic social doctrine principles of the common good, rights and responsibility, and the protection of human life and dignity apply here. Air pollution does not respect boundaries, and the fact that one state’s air pollution is a problem for an adjacent state violates these basic principles. A good neighbor would do what it can to reduce its harm to another neighbor. The offended party has a right to a clean environment and the offender a responsibility to do the right thing.” He continued, “As stewards of God’s creation who strive to live according to Laudato Si’, we are deeply concerned about the implications for our collective health and the integrity of our environment. We must continue to advocate for policies that promote clean air and protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Halting the Good Neighbor Plan will exacerbate air pollution issues, particularly in downwind states already burdened by smog originating from upwind emissions. This judicial decision risks delaying or entirely blocking the enforcement of more stringent air quality standards, potentially reversing years of environmental advancements and posing a threat to public health.


About Catholic Climate Covenant  

Catholic Climate Covenant is a national U.S. nonprofit founded with the support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2006 that inspires and equips U.S. Catholics and institutions to care for creation together. Through 20 national partners, we guide the U.S. Church’s response to climate change and integral ecology through faith-driven education, advocacy, and resources.


Recent Stories