Consortium Statement on Supreme Court “Good Neighbor” Plan Pause

Blog > Consortium Statements > Consortium Statement on Supreme Court “Good Neighbor” Plan Pause

June 27, 2024

On June 27, the Supreme Court paused an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan to limit air pollution that crosses state lines. The “good neighbor plan” stipulates that polluting power plants must cut ozone pollution that drifts to other states, in order to better support downwind states’ efforts to meet air quality standards set by the Clean Air Act. In response to this decision, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health released the following statement:

The Consortium is disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling to pause the good neighbor provision. As health professionals, we know that ozone pollution causes smog which contributes to lung disease, premature death, and other detrimental health effects. Those most at risk are children, whose lungs are still developing, and the elderly. Limiting this pollution saves lives, and the good neighbor plan helps protect downwind states that are working to meet important air quality standards. Polluting sources in upwind states must take responsibility for their contributions to the emissions levels of other states.

While we understand that this plan will continue to be litigated through the appeals process, we also know that there is no time to waste. Power plant emissions pollute our air, harm respiratory and cardiovascular health, and contribute to neurological harms. We cannot afford to delay the health benefits that come with cleaning up our air. In addition, we know that communities of color and low-income communities disproportionately experience the adverse health impacts of air pollution, including higher incidence and hospitalization rates for asthma, bronchitis, and COPD.

In February, the EPA stated that power-plant emissions fell by 18% for the 10 states that were implementing the good neighbor plan. We know improvements to air quality are possible, and we support EPA’s ability to regulate pollution in order to better protect the health of our communities.