AG Healey Pledges to Defend EPA's Final Clean Power Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution from Power Plants
AG Joins Coalition of State AGs and Local Governments in Support of EPA’s Final Rules, Commits to Fight Legal Challenges to Rules
BOSTON – Applauding today’s release by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its final rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under the federal Clean Air Act, and joining a group of state attorneys general and local governments pledging to help defend those rules in court, Attorney General Maura Healey issued the following statement:
“We applaud this historic step by President Obama and the EPA to protect public health and our communities by placing federal limits on greenhouse gas pollution from power plants in the United States. Massachusetts has long been a leader in advocating for federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and won a landmark victory in Massachusetts v. EPA, which paved the way for today’s rules. Massachusetts has also led the nation in curbing greenhouse gas pollution to address the significant risks posed by climate change, including through our participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. We stand ready to work with our partners to defend the final rules from anticipated legal challenges.”
EPA’s final rules under Sections 111(b) and 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, known as the Clean Power Plan, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants and establish a national goal of reducing those emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. On August 3, AG Healey sent EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy a letter co-signed by a coalition of state attorneys general and local governments, expressing strong support for the final rules, and pledging to help EPA defend the rules from legal challenges. The coalition’s letter emphasizes that the EPA’s power plant rules are “firmly grounded in the law.” The rules are the culmination of a decade-long effort by Massachusetts and other states and partners to advocate for regulations reducing climate change-causing emissions from power plants.
AG Healey defended the proposed rule for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants against premature legal challenges brought by the coal industry and several coal-producing states. In March 2015, the Attorney General’s Office, intervening in support of EPA along with New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York, submitted briefs in the cases Murray Energy v. EPA and West Virginia v. EPA before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, opposing these challenges to the proposed rule. In June 2015, the court rejected the petitioners’ challenges. Agreeing with EPA and Massachusetts, the court concluded that the challenges were premature and that the court lacked jurisdiction to review the proposed rule.
In December 2013, the AG’s Office submitted comments along with other states in response to EPA’s request for input in developing the rule to regulate emissions from existing power plants. In December 2014, the AG’s Office filed detailed comments on the proposed rule, lauding the rule’s flexible and cost-effective approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
Several states, including Massachusetts — which has been a national leader in tackling climate change and promoting a clean energy economy — have taken cost-effective measures 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.
This matter is being handled by Melissa A. Hoffer, Chief of AG Healey’s Energy and Environment Bureau, Christophe Courchesne, Chief of the Environmental Protection Division, and Assistant Attorney General Tracy Triplett.