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Attorney General William Tong



30 States and Local Governments Seek to Intervene to Defend EPA’s Authority

(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong joined a coalition of 30 states and local governments in filing a motion to intervene on behalf of the federal government to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) authority to establish meaningful emission limits on greenhouse gases from power plants and other industrial sources. The intervention pushes back against industry challenges to EPA authority under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to limit these missions.

"EPA has the authority and obligation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Our multistate coalition is pushing back against industry challenges to this fundamental principle. We cannot fight climate change if we cannot regulate and reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. There is no question, as EPA has found, that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare. In light of EPA's aggressive rollbacks in environmental protection it is important that the states step in to ensure that this foundational principle is protected," said Attorney General Tong.

The motion to intervene, filed in cases brought against EPA by several coal mining companies and other industry interests, is separate and distinct from the action the state and municipal coalition took to initiate its ongoing multistate lawsuit against EPA over its roll-back of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever nationwide limits on one of the largest sources of climate change pollution – existing fossil-fueled power plants. The EPA’s proposed rule, the “Affordable Clean Energy”—aka the “Dirty Power Plan”— will have virtually no impact on these emissions, prolonging the nation’s reliance on polluting, expensive coal power plants and obstructing progress of states toward clean, renewable, and affordable electricity generation. While the states contend that the “Dirty Power Plan” rule change is unlawful, we support the EPA's authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. In fact, we argue that EPA has the affirmative obligation to ensure that compliance with the Clean Air Act be based on the emissions reductions achievable through the “best system of emission reduction.”

Joining Attorney General Tong in today’s motion to intervene– filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – are the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, and the chief legal officers of Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and South Miami. New York Attorney General Letitia James led the coalition.

Assistant attorneys general Scott Koschwitz and Matt Levine, Head of the Environment Department, assisted the Attorney General in this matter.

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