For Immediate Release - September 20, 2011

AG Coakley Defends EPA Conclusion That Auto Emissions Contribute to Climate Change

BOSTON - In response to an industry challenge, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed a brief supporting the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) determination that greenhouse gases from motor vehicles endanger human health and welfare.

"For years, Massachusetts has been leading the effort to force the federal government to address the pressing problem of climate change," said Attorney General Coakley. "We are committed to doing whatever we can to help ensure that the important steps the EPA has taken remain in place."

AG Coakley has been leading a coalition of 16 states and New York City, and working with six environmental groups, by opposing a set of cases brought by various industry groups that challenge EPA's efforts to combat climate change. The brief highlights how EPA's actions are mandated by the Clean Air Act in light of the consensus findings of scientists worldwide that increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, primarily resulting from the combustion of petroleum and coal, are destabilizing climates worldwide. The EPA's Endangerment Determination, and new emissions rules for motor vehicles respond to the Supreme Court's 2007 decision in the landmark climate change case, Massachusetts v. EPA. The brief argues that EPA's actions should be upheld.

Under the Clean Air Act, the Endangerment Finding triggers EPA's statutory duty to regulate greenhouse gases by setting tailpipe emissions standards, which in turn triggers a need to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources. Industry groups have also challenged those regulations. The coalition of states, New York City, and the environmental groups plan to file briefs in those cases in the coming weeks.

The parties to the brief filed today are: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the States of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, the City of New York, Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation Law Foundation, Inc., National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Wetlands Watch.

This matter has been handled by Assistant Attorneys General Carol Iancu, Tracy Triplett, and William L. Pardee, Chief, with the Environmental Protection Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.