Press Release

Press Release AG Healey Defends States’ Authority to Work With Other Governments in Controlling Pollution Through Cap-and-trade Programs

For immediate release:
2/19/2020
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey Defends States’ Authority to Work With Other Governments in Controlling Pollution Through Cap-and-trade Programs

Chloe Gotsis

BOSTONMassachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined a coalition of 14 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in federal district court against the Trump Administration’s latest attack on state efforts to protect residents from climate change.

The brief, filed Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, defends California in a lawsuit filed by the Trump Administration in October, challenging the state’s authority to enter into an agreement with the Canadian province of Québec on their coordinated cap-and-trade markets for carbon emissions. The agreement allows the two jurisdictions to better coordinate their programs to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Trump Administration has completely abdicated its responsibility to protect our residents from the devastating impacts of climate change,” AG Healey said. “We urge the court to uphold the long-held authority of states to communicate with other governments about cost-effective solutions to reduce environmental harms.”

In the brief, the states argue that inter-jurisdictional agreements like the one between California and Québec are commonplace and cover a multitude of important topics that fall clearly within the states’ established authorities. According to the brief, states routinely enter into similar agreements to coordinate solutions that transcend boundaries on issues ranging from medical licensing, to oil spill prevention, to interstate taxation. The brief also explains that states have passed numerous laws and regulations to protect their residents and the environment by reducing pollution, none of which interfere with federal prerogatives.

“States have critical interests in combating threats to their residents’ public safety, health, and welfare, and States have inherent authority to exercise their police powers to protect those interests,” the states write in the brief. “The Supreme Court has recognized state authority in this area for well over a hundred years.”

The brief demonstrates AG Healey’s continued commitment to working with other state attorneys general to fight the dangerous impacts of climate change. 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 Massachusetts v. EPA. Over the last several years, AG Healey has strongly opposed the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back federal climate protections and to attack state efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and advance clean energy solutions, including states’ authority to adopt California’s greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions standards for new cars and trucks.

Joining AG Healey in filing the brief are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

This matter is being handled in Massachusetts by Special Assistant Attorneys General Megan M. Herzog and David Frankel, both of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division.    

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Media Contact for AG Healey Defends States’ Authority to Work With Other Governments in Controlling Pollution Through Cap-and-trade Programs

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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