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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Supreme Court weighs case that could weaken environmental protections

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Friday, June 14, 2024   

The Supreme Court is expected to rule any day now on two cases that could allow judges to more easily overrule federal agencies, which could have big implications for environmental, consumer and public health protections.

The two cases -- Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless Inc. v. the Department of Commerce -- aim to overturn the 1984 Chevron deference doctrine that said when ambiguous statutes are being challenged in court, judges must defer to the reasonable interpretation of agency experts.

"It would give judges a lot more power to write very impactful regulatory provisions where those judges really don't have a lot of expertise," said Jim Murphy, the National Wildlife Federation's director of legal advocacy.

Opponents of the Chevron deference doctrine have said it gives too much power to the executive branch. The cases stem from a dispute where fishing crews are challenging requirements that they pay to have a monitor onboard to guard against overfishing and bycatch of endangered species.

If the Supreme Court invalidates the Chevron deference doctrine, Murphy said, it would undermine the work of dozens of agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

"The people who are charged with protecting our public health and protecting our natural resources are not going to have the tools they need," he said, "and it's going to result in people getting sick, people dying, places getting polluted. It's going to have real impact for a very long time."

The Supreme Court generally releases its decisions in mid-June before going into recess for the summer.

Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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