For Immediate Release - June 09, 2010

AG Coakley Urges U.S. Senate to Oppose Resolution That Would Undercut Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

BOSTON - Today, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, joined by Attorneys General from nine states, urged members of the U.S. Senate to oppose a resolution that would undercut the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ability to protect against greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

The resolution, proposed by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is set for a vote tomorrow. It would veto the EPA's "endangerment" finding, a scientific determination that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare. The "endangerment" finding is the catalyst for EPA's greenhouse gas regulations, which are set to take effect next year, but will not if the resolution passes.

View PDF of today's letter:

On April 2, 2007, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Massachusetts and eleven other states in Massachusetts v. EPA, marking the first Supreme Court case ever involving global warming. In this case, the Court ruled that the EPA has existing authority under the Federal Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. Greenhouse gas pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, cause the warming of the earth's atmosphere. The EPA previously refused to regulate such gases, arguing it lacked statutory authority. The court also concluded that the EPA's grounds for refusing to regulate greenhouse gases were legally insufficient, and directed the agency to reconsider. In response to that lawsuit, the EPA formally declared carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that threaten public health and welfare on December 15, 2009.

The following is a statement from Attorney General Martha Coakley:

"Massachusetts has been a leader in requiring the EPA to protect against climate change, and we cannot reverse the progress we have made in working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In making its endangerment determination, the EPA followed the very process Congress itself established to deal with climate change. The EPA's determination reviews the latest and best scientific data and concludes that climate change is real, is occurring now, and threatens our health, welfare and way of life."

In addition to Attorney General Coakley, Attorneys General from the following states signed on to today's letter: Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, California, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Arizona, Iowa, and Maryland. The Corporation Counsel for the City of New York also signed on to the letter.