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September 4, 2014

AG Jepsen Joins Coalition Defending Federal Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Standards for Power Plants

Attorney General George Jepsen today announced that Connecticut and 11 other states, the City of New York and the District of Columbia joined in a court action to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s commitment to set greenhouse gas emissions standards for new and existing fossil-fuel electric generating power plants.   The Attorney Generals’ action is in response to a challenge by a coalition of 12 coal-producing states, led by West Virginia, who challenge the terms of a 2010 settlement agreement under which the EPA agreed to enact the regulations.  

The Attorney Generals’ motion to intervene in the matter was filed Tuesday in United States District Court in New York.  The Coalition will seek to ensure that the rulemaking process for regulating greenhouse gases continues in an effective manner.

"Connecticut has a direct and substantial interest in the outcome of this case," said Attorney General Jepsen. "Greenhouse gases from other states’ power plants contribute to climate changes that threaten our economy and natural resources.  In light of the risks and costs to Connecticut, we have a right to demand that emissions in neighboring states be controlled by regulation."

In February 2006, in the case of New York v. EPA, Connecticut joined a similar coalition of states, along with various other environmental organizations, in challenging a ruling by the EPA that it lacked legal authority under the Clean Air Act to establish greenhouse gas emissions standards.  As a result, EPA's authority to set greenhouse gas standards was affirmed in a 2007 landmark Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts v. EPA. Thereafter, despite the urging of Connecticut and other states, as well as environmental organizations, EPA took no action to exercise its authority to set standards.

In December 2010, the coalition of states, including Connecticut, environmental groups and the EPA entered into a settlement agreement to resolve the claims made in New York v. EPA. The EPA agreed to set a schedule for proposing and finalizing rules governing greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants under the Clean Air Act. The agreement was finalized in March 2011.  The agency proposed regulations to establish New Source Performance Standards in April 2012.   The EPA has been conducting hearings through the country on the rulemaking process.   Connecticut joined many other states in supporting strong standards that would limit power plant emissions.

“The effects that uncontrolled climate change can have on our environment and economy are clear and alarming. Reasonable efforts can and should be made to minimize these impacts," said Attorney General Jepsen. "We must stand ready to combat damage caused by climate change through regulations that control emissions of greenhouse gases in every state."

In June of this year Connecticut joined other states and EPA in proposing a partnership between the agency and the states that would set an emissions reduction goal and cost-effective means to achieve that goal in each state.

Joining Connecticut in the motion, led by New York, are the states of California, Delaware, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York.

Assistant Attorneys General Kimberly Massicotte, head of the Environment Department, and Scott Koschwitz, with Associate Attorney General Joseph Rubin, are assisting Attorney General Jepsen with this matter.

Please click here to view the documents filed in United States District Court.


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