AG Healey Joins Coalition of State AGs, Local Governments in Defense of EPA's Clean Power Plan
Coalition Cites Critical Need for Rules in Order to Protect the Public, Environment, and Grow Economies
BOSTON— Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that she has joined a coalition of 18 states and several local governments in supporting the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan rules against legal challenges by several states and industry groups. 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.
The AG’s Office joined with the coalition in filing a motion to intervene in support of the Clean Power Plan in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
“We are proud today to join 17 state attorneys general and several local governments, in moving to intervene in support of EPA’s Clean Power Plan,” AG Healey said. “The AG’s Office has long advocated for regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and it was our office that won the landmark Supreme Court victory in Massachusetts v. EPA, which held that greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Power Plan is a pivotal step that will allow us to curb carbon emissions from existing power plants, and do it in a way that allows the states maximum flexibility.
Here in Massachusetts, we’ve been national leaders in clean energy —from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to energy efficiency programs, and a standard to promote greater reliance on renewable energy. Those programs have been good for Massachusetts residents and good for our regional economy. There is no time to waste. Securing these emissions reductions from power plants—the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States—is critical to putting us on a path to avoid dangerous levels of warming, and toward building a sustainable energy future.”
The coalition includes attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia, the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boulder, South Miami, and Broward County in Florida.
The EPA released the Clean Power Plan under Sections 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act in August 2015. The Clean Power Plan establishes a national goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants by 32 percent from 2005 by 2030. The rule for existing power plants is expected to eliminate as much climate change pollution as is emitted by more than 160 million cars a year.
Also today, AG Healey joined a coalition of states and local governments in filing a motion to intervene in separate cases pending in the D.C. Circuit to defend EPA’s rules establishing carbon emission standards for new and modified power plants under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act.
On Aug. 3 2015, 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 emphasized that the EPA’s power plant rules are “firmly grounded in the law.”
Earlier this year, AG Healey successfully helped defend the proposed rule for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants against premature legal challenges brought by the coal industry and several coal-producing states. Several states, including Massachusetts 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, Assistant Attorney General Tracy Triplett and Legal Analyst Jillian Riley.