Home Publisher's Point of View Two Impactful Supreme Court Decisions in Less Than a Week

Two Impactful Supreme Court Decisions in Less Than a Week

Glenn Hasek

To what extent will two important Supreme Court decisions handed down in the past week impact you and your hotel/hotel company and what does each have to do with corporate social responsibility? I will not take sides on the abortion debate here and many questions remain to be answered, but the overturning of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling could force you to decide whether to provide extra support to women in need of reproductive care. According to a June 30 New York Times article, many companies have already decided to cover the travel expenses of women in need of such care. The names of those companies are highly recognizable. Some of them include Starbucks, Tesla, Yelp, Airbnb, Microsoft, Netflix, Patagonia, DoorDash, JPMorgan Chase, Levi Strauss, PayPal, Amazon, and Reddit, for example.

In the New York Times article, no company that only does business in hotels was mentioned but many suppliers to hotels were mentioned and the Walt Disney Co. said it would cover travel expenses as well. Of course, Disney has many lodging establishments under its corporate umbrella.

Some companies have kept quiet about their decisions while others have made formal statements. It is certainly potential PR quicksand, especially if one group or another decides to protest or boycott a business that has gone one way or another.

Court Diminishes EPA’s Power

Less than a week after the Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court removed the EPA’s ability to regulate planet-warming emissions from the country’s power plants. This happened while scientists warned the world is running out of time to get the climate crisis under control. While Roe v. Wade put the abortion question back in each state’s hands, the EPA decision put more pressure on Congress to act to reduce emissions. Experts told CNN it could set the U.S. back years on its path to rein in the climate crisis and its deadly, costly impacts.

Around 25 percent of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions around the globe and in the U.S. come from generating electricity, according to the EPA. And coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, powers about 20 percent of U.S. electricity. There needs to be pressure on utility companies to transition to clean, renewable energy. We all know how productive Congress can be when it comes to getting legislation passed that makes it easier to breathe or more difficult to pollute—and how they can be swayed by lobbyists.

Said CNN: “The Supreme Court said the Clean Air Act does not give EPA broad authority to regulate planet-warming emissions from power plants. The agency still has options to regulate emissions, but the court said that the law does not empower the agency to put a limit on emissions and force power plants to move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.”

We Know How to Save Energy

What we as an industry can do is continue to reduce the demand for the generation of dirty electricity by investing in smart, energy-saving technology and renewable energy ventures. It has been proven time and time again that even investments in low-hanging fruit such as LEDs, sensors, heat recovery systems, ozone laundry systems, etc. can have a significant impact. Suppliers are making it easier to invest in more expensive energy-saving technologies through creative financing programs and there are rebates and tax incentives available to make even larger systems a no brainer. Need some inspiration? The Energy Management section of Green Lodging News has more than 3,000 articles.

Got stories to share about either of these Supreme Court decisions? I would love to hear about them. I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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