For Immediate Release - January 22, 2010

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Moves to Intervene in Lawsuit to Block Federal Emissions Regulations

Motion Seeks to Uphold Endangerment Determination that Greenhouse Gases Endanger Public Health

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office, 15 states and New York City, filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by industry groups last fall to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "Endangerment Finding." The Endangerment Finding is the EPA's formal determination that greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change and as a result may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare. The filing signals the states' intention to join with the EPA in defending EPA's decision. The motion was filed in the Federal Appeals Court in Washington, D.C.

Last December, the EPA published the Endangerment Finding in response to the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. The finding is the first step towards regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

"The Endangerment Finding marked the end of an era in which the federal government refused to acknowledge that anything could or should be done about global climate change. We are confident that the court will uphold the EPA's action and that the EPA will press forward with its plan to begin regulation of greenhouse gases," said Attorney General Coakley. "While we continue to hope that Congress will enact effective and comprehensive legislation to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we firmly believe that the EPA has an important role to play whether or not Congress acts and we cannot afford to wait."

On December 23, 2009, industry groups from various sectors ( e.g., mining, cattlemen, energy, etc.) filed a single petition for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Petitioners have not yet identified the specific issues they intend to raise, but Attorney General Coakley's Office intends to argue that the legal and scientific basis for the EPA's Endangerment Finding is sound and should be upheld.

Joining Massachusetts in today's motion to intervene were the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and the City of New York.

This matter is being handled Assistant Attorney General Carol Iancu, and Assistant Attorney General Tracy Triplett, both of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Protection Division.