AG Jepsen Joins 27-Member Coalition in Defending Clean Power Plan
Attorney General George Jepsen has joined a 27-member coalition of states, counties and cities in comments opposing the Trump Administration's "unlawful and unsupported" proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
In comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to its ongoing rulemaking seeking to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the coalition charges that the proposal is "unsupported by the facts or law" and that the repeal ignores not only increasingly compelling scientific underpinnings but also the EPA's obligation to regulate the emissions of existing power plants under the federal Clean Air Act.
The coalition charges that EPA's newly revised analysis of the economic impacts of the Clean Power Plan is error-filled and amounts to a "thinly veiled attempt to provide factual support for its predetermined conclusion to repeal the [Plan]."
"EPA has a legal, court-affirmed duty under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions," said Attorney General Jepsen. "It is a scientific fact that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to climate change, and that our country's power plants create massive amounts of carbon dioxide pollution. The repeal of the Clean Power Plan is short-sighted and indicative of the antagonistic stance that the Trump Administration has taken toward clean air and environmental protection policies. My office will continue to partner with fellow attorneys general and legal officials to oppose efforts to roll back the significant strides made in recent years and to defend the Clean Power Plan."
In their comments, the coalition compares the Trump Administration's constrained vision of the Clean Air Act to "a horse with blinders (if not a blindfold)" that "completely ignores the dire threat climate change poses, the interconnected nature of power plants, and the nature of the pollutant (carbon dioxide) that is the subject of regulation."
Specifically, the coalition challenges the proposed repeal on a number of fronts, including that:
• Scientific reports issued after the Clean Power Plan was finalized provide further demonstration of the critical need to promptly and sharply cut climate change pollution from power plants and other large sources.
• The Clean Air Act clearly requires EPA to set limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants; the administration's proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, without a replacement, would violate the Clean Air Act.
• The Trump Administration's legal arguments in support of its proposed repeal were carefully considered and rejected when raised in the Clean Power Plan rulemaking; nothing has changed to increase the merit of those arguments.
• The EPA's revised analysis on the economic impact of the Clean Power Plan contains numerous errors and systematically underestimates the benefits of the Plan while exaggerating its costs.
The Clean Power Plan is the culmination of a decade-long effort by partnering states and cities to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Power Plan – along with the companion rule applicable to new, modified and reconstructed power plants – would control these emissions by setting limits on the amount of climate change pollution that power plants can emit.
Today's comments were led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and, in addition to Connecticut, include the attorneys general of California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia, and the chief legal officers of the cities of Boulder (Colorado), Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and South Miami (Florida) and the county of Broward (Florida).
Assistant Attorneys General Scott Koschwitz and Matthew Levine, head of the Environment Department, are assisting the Attorney General with this matter.
Please click here to view the coalition's comments.
Jaclyn M. Severance