- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Calls on EPA to Hold Public Hearings in Massachusetts on Repeal of the Clean Power Plan
Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey has joined with state and federal leaders in calling on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to hold public hearings in Massachusetts on the agency’s proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan – the landmark federal regulations that limit carbon pollution from power plants.
“Repealing the Clean Power Plan will have devastating impacts on our state’s efforts to combat climate change and on our growing clean energy sector,” said AG Healey. “These issues are of immense importance to Massachusetts, and our residents, business owners, public leaders, and power generators deserve to be heard.”
In a letter sent Tuesday to the EPA, AG Healey, along with Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stan Rosenberg and every member of the state’s Congressional delegation urged the EPA to hold multiple hearings in Massachusetts in addition to any hearing to be held in Washington, D.C. The officials contend that repealing the Clean Power Plan would jeopardize growth and job creation in the state’s thriving clean energy sector.
The letter also points out that Massachusetts is experiencing conditions that ultimately lead to poorer air quality and a rise in hospital admissions and emergency room visits for those suffering from asthma, especially children. The state already has the country’s highest rate of asthma, with the condition affecting 12 percent of the state’s adults, and 12 percent of children in kindergarten to eighth grade.
With 75 percent of the state’s residents living near the coast, Massachusetts is also particularly vulnerable to sea level rise caused by climate change. Sea level rise is already intensifying coastal flooding from storms and will eventually flood low-level communities, including Boston. Increased sea levels also jeopardize barrier beach systems and put areas like Buzzards Bay and Plum Island at risk.
On March 28, President Trump signed an order which the administration described as paving the way to eliminate the Clean Power Plan rule. Following the executive order, AG Healey joined a coalition of 23 states, cities, and towns in pledging to aggressively oppose the order in court. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced on Oct. 9 that the EPA will repeal the Clean Power Plan, and AG Healey is committed to fighting the repeal.
President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan in August 2015. After final regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants were issued by the EPA, a group of state and industry petitioners challenged the Clean Power Plan in federal court. In November 2015, a coalition of 25 states, cities and counties intervened in defense of the Clean Power Plan against the challenge in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Clean Power Plan is the culmination of a decade-long effort to partner with states and cities to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Power Plan, along with a companion rule applicable to new, modified, and reconstructed power plants, would set limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can emit. The Clean Power Plan’s emission limits for existing plants is expected to eliminate as much carbon pollution as is emitted by more than 160 million cars a year – or 70 percent of the nation’s passenger cars.
Massachusetts has already taken a leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by moving forward with its own programs, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Global Warming Solutions Act, energy efficiency programs, and landmark commitments to procure electricity from hydropower and wind.
AG Healey has long been an advocate of expanding Massachusetts’ clean and renewable energy economy. For years, the Massachusetts 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.