AG Jepsen Joins Coalition in Defense of EPA Clean Power Plan
Attorney General George Jepsen announced today that Connecticut has joined a coalition of 25 states, cities and counties in filing a motion to intervene to defend the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan against legal challenges.
The coalition's motion to intervene in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia responds to lawsuits that several states and industry groups have filed challenging the new rule. The Clean Power Plan requires fossil-fueled power plants – the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country – to cut their emissions pursuant to the federal Clean Air Act.
"The Clean Power Plan is not only an appropriate exercise of the EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act, it is essential to the ongoing efforts of our coalition members to safeguard the health, safety and well-being of our residents," said Attorney General Jepsen. "My office, in partnership with the coalition, stands ready to support and assist the EPA throughout the implementation of the plan. We believe the plan sets reasonable limits on emissions of climate change pollution from new and existing power plants and that the plan is firmly grounded in law."
The EPA adopted the Clean Power Plan through a multiyear process that drew heavily on the experience of states, like Connecticut, and utilities in reducing power plant greenhouse gas emissions. The finalization of the plan marked the culmination of a decade-long effort by cities and states to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel burning power plants.
In seeking to intervene, the coalition members cited their compelling interest in defending the Clean Power Plan as a means to achieve their goal of preventing and mitigating climate change harms in their states and municipalities. The coalition members, including Connecticut, have participated actively in regulatory and judicial proceedings that led to the adoption of the Clean Power Plan and have taken significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Connecticut passed landmark legislation in 1990 that required the state to implement a wide range of measures to reduce energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions. In 2001, Connecticut helped to develop the first ever international, multi-jurisdictional climate change action plan, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010; reducing emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020; and to reducing emissions to 75 to 85 percent below 2001 levels by 2050.
In addition to Connecticut, the coalition includes New York; California; Delaware; Hawaii; Illinois; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New Hampshire; New Mexico; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; the District of Columbia; the Cities of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boulder and South Miami; and Broward County, Florida.
Assistant Attorneys General Kirsten Rigney, Scott Koschwitz and Matthew Levine, head of the Environment Department, are assisting the Attorney General in this matter.