Here’s what the Supreme Court decision means for Bellingham’s effort to fight climate change

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Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood criticized a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to restrict carbon emissions, and he said the decision won’t stop the city from doing its part to fight global climate change.

In a 6-3 ruling Thursday, June 30, the high court delivered a “gut punch” to the nation’s efforts to limit the harmful effects of greenhouse gases, according to an Associated Press story.

But that won’t affect Bellingham’s efforts to reduce its own carbon footprint, since the city doesn’t directly regulate power plants, Fleetwood told The Bellingham Herald in an email.

“As federal dysfunction becomes increasingly glaring, there is a corresponding duty for cities to step up,” Fleetwood said.

“The great majority of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities. Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision underscores the importance of all cities doing their part to convert to renewable energy,” he said.

In its most recent Climate Action Plan, which was updated in 2020, the city set targets for reducing carbon emissions by 2030 and 2050 and has begun enacting measures to help achieve those goals.

Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood said the Supreme Court ruling that limits the EPA’s authority means that more U.S. cities will have to take individual action to fight global climate change.
Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood said the Supreme Court ruling that limits the EPA’s authority means that more U.S. cities will have to take individual action to fight global climate change.

New commercial buildings four stories and taller must use electricity for heating and water heating, and the city has committed to installing more electric vehicle charging stations and buying more electric vehicles.

In addition, Fleetwood is seeking funds in the 2023-2024 budget to create an office whose mission is addressing climate change.

“This decision does not limit the important implementation work identified in our city’s Climate Action Plan. We are doing the essential work that every community in the world should be doing, taking action on climate and building a sustainable, equitable and thriving city,” Fleetwood said.