- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Opposes EPA's Illegal Repeal of Clean Power Plan
Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a coalition of 27 states, cities, and counties in calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to abandon its misguided and illegal effort to repeal the Clean Power Plan.
In comments submitted to the EPA Thursday, the coalition argues that the agency’s proposal to repeal is “unsupported by the facts or law” –ignoring the scientific evidence supporting the rule, the mounting harms from climate change, and EPA’s legal obligation to regulate emissions under the federal Clean Air Act.
“Scott Pruitt has illegally handed over all decision-making to the fossil fuel industry and climate change deniers,” said AG Healey. “We will continue to work with our partners to defend this critical rule and our clean energy economy.”
Joining AG Healey in filing today’s comments are attorneys general of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, the District of Columbia, and the chief legal officers of the cities of Boulder (Colorado), Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and South Miami (Florida), and the county of Broward (Florida).
Specifically, the coalition’s letter challenges the proposed repeal on a number of fronts, including that:
- Scientific reports issued after the Clean Power Plan was finalized provide further evidence of the critical need to promptly and sharply cut climate change pollution from power plants and other large sources.
- The Clean Air Act and legal decisions including the landmark Supreme Court case of Massachusetts v. EPA clearly require EPA to set limits on carbon pollution, including from existing power plants. Repealing the Clean Power Plan – without simultaneously replacing it – would violate the Act.
- EPA’s current legal justifications for repealing the plan were already considered and rejected during the Clean Power Plan rulemaking process.
- EPA’s revised analysis on the economic impacts of the Clean Power Plan underestimates the benefits of the Clean Power Plan while exaggerating its costs.
Massachusetts and its cities and towns are already spending millions of dollars fighting climate change, and they face far greater costs if national efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions like the Clean Power Plan do not proceed. For example:
- Extreme storms like Winter Storm Grayson are already inundating the Massachusetts coast with flooding, causing costly damage to homes, businesses, and local infrastructure.
- Warmer temperatures brought on by climate change are contributing to the rise in deer populations in the state and the spread of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.
- Massachusetts already has the nation’s highest rate of asthma in the nation and the increased formation of ground level ozone from in a warmer climate can lead to a rise in hospital visits for people suffering from asthma, especially children.
The Clean Power Plan was 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 are expected to eliminate as much carbon pollution as is emitted by over 160 million cars a year – or 70 percent of the nation’s passenger cars.
AG Healey also joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general on Thursday in submitting a supplemental comment letter to the EPA with additional evidence of due process violations, lack of fairness, and ethical lapses stemming from Pruitt’s involvement in EPA’s efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan. The comment letter reiterates previous concerns raised by AG Healey and 18 states and municipalities in a January comment letter that cited Pruitt’s repeated attacks against the Clean Power Plan while Oklahoma Attorney General and since his confirmation as EPA Administrator.
AG Healey has long been an advocate of combating climate change and expanding Massachusetts’ clean 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 Massachusetts v. EPA. Together with other state AGs, AG Healey insisted on a robust public process for the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan and is committed to fighting the repeal in court.