Climate change poses a real and immediate threat to national security. Severe weather, wildfires, drought and other effects of climate change divert Army resources for disaster response, damage Army assets, pose risks to Soldiers and Families, and contribute to geo-political instability. As Secretary Wormuth stated, the time to address climate change is now. That is why in February of 2022 we released the Army Climate Strategy. We will use every tool legally available to address this threat.
On June 30, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in West Virginia v. EPA, concluding that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2015 regulation known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP) was not expressly authorized by Congress under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The CPP would have required states to set greenhouse emissions caps by any combination of: (1) improved efficiency at individual coal-fired power plants; (2) generation shifting from coal-fired plants to natural gas-fired plants; and (3) generation shifting from coal- and gas-fired plants to renewable energy. Cap-and-trade programs would have been allowed under the CPP to achieve a state’s emission caps. In 2016 the Supreme Court stayed the CPP, preventing the rule from taking effect.
In its recent decision, the Court held that a shift in the nation’s energy generation mix, including by the use of cap-and-trade programs, must be expressly authorized by Congress. Because the provision of the CAA relied on by EPA in establishing the CPP does not expressly authorize emissions limits based on generation shifting, the Court found that EPA lacked authority to do so by regulation.
The Supreme Court’s ruling has no effect on the Army’s Climate Strategy. We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving energy efficiency and resiliency. The Army Climate Strategy directly supports the National Defense Strategy and will enhance resilience and readiness. We remain steadfast in achieving these goals.