For Immediate Release - June 02, 2014

AG Applauds EPA’s Proposed Rule to Regulate Power Plant Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Cut Climate Change Pollution

BOSTON – Applauding today’s announcement by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of proposed rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants under the federal Clean Air Act, Attorney General Martha Coakley issued the following statement:

“We applaud this major step to protect public health and welfare by reducing greenhouse gas pollution from existing power plants, the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. EPA’s action today will allow states the flexibility to develop or rely on existing programs to address the risks of climate change and meet new reduction targets cost-effectively, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. We are pleased to stand by President Obama and EPA on this historic day.”

BACKGROUND:

In December 2013, AG Coakley submitted comments along with New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and the California Air Resources Board, in response to the EPA’s request for input in developing a proposed rule by June 2014 to regulate emissions from existing power plants, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation.

In 2006, the AG's Office joined a multi-state lawsuit seeking to force the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants under the Clean Air Act.  After the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, a schedule was set for the EPA to regulate emissions from new and existing power plants, which the EPA failed to meet.

In June 2013, President Obama directed the EPA to propose standards for new power plant emissions, which were completed in September 2013, and to propose and finalize emission guidelines for existing power plants by June 2014, and June 2015, respectively. The EPA must require states to submit implementation plans by June 30, 2016.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to establish an emission guideline, based on the best system of emission reduction identified by EPA, and give states flexibility to determine how they will achieve or exceed the carbon pollution limits for their existing power plants.

Several states, including Massachusetts — which has been a national leader in tackling climate change and promoting a clean energy economy — have taken measures cost effectively to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector, including establishing renewable portfolio standards to encourage greater reliance on clean energy, implementing energy efficiency programs, and participating in market-based programs, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

For years, the AG’s Office has been a leader in pursuing federal regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, including leading a coalition of states, in coordination with numerous environmental groups, in the landmark Supreme Court case of Massachusetts v. EPA.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Melissa Hoffer, Chief, and Carol Iancu, of AG Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division.

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