July 1, 2022
Thursday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in West Virginia v. EPA poses grave risks for our environment and, by extension, all life on Earth. In particular, the millions of species of insects on our planet—already experiencing dramatic declines in parts of the world due to climate change, habitat loss, pollution, and other human-driven threats—will face further irreversible losses as a result of this decision.
Global ecosystems depend on a diverse and thriving community of insects and other arthropods, "the little things that run the world." A warming climate affects insect growth rates, drives them out of native habitats and into new ones, and breaks their links in the food chain—impacts that cascade through the environment and lead to reduced food security, more frequent pest outbreaks, the spread of disease-carrying insects, and more.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is our country's most critical line of defense in regulating the quality of our air, water, and natural resources. We rely on the EPA, its scientists, and other federal agencies to stand as a bulwark against the excesses and side effects of human activity, so that we may live in balance with our environment and ecosystems and not destroy them. Limiting EPA's authority to manage this balance tips the scales toward an unsustainable future.
The Entomological Society of America supports scientific reason and pragmatism in response to this ruling, prioritizing insect science. Climate change is more than just "the crisis of the day," and other countries will fall behind if the U.S. does not lead. The intent of the Clean Air Act and other environmental legislation was, in part, to empower scientists and experts in federal agencies to make decisions, because Congress recognizes these agencies are better positioned to respond in real time than Congress or the courts. We encourage Congress to reinforce the authority of the Executive Branch to act in the best interest of the nation and pass meaningful climate legislation to protect life on Earth as we know it.