A coalition of states, cities and counties announced Nov. 4 that they plan are going to bat in defense of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan, a controversial proposal to have states cut power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 32% by 2030.
The move led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, among others, is designed as a legal counterweight to recent court challenges being brought by states who oppose the EPA regulation.
The coalition’s motion to intervene in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit responds to suits that several states and industry groups have filed challenging the rule.
Twenty-four states, most reliant on either coal mining or coal-fired electric generation, have asked the D.C. Circuit to strike down the rule. The anti-Clean Power Plan states filed their legal challenge shortly after the final version of the rule was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 23.
The pro-Clean Power Plan states filed their motion to intervene with the D.C. Circuit on Nov. 4.
“Climate change represents an unprecedented threat to the environment, public health, and our economy. We no longer can afford to respond to this threat with denials or obstruction,” Schneiderman said.
“President Obama’s plan to limit harmful emissions from power plants is necessary to preserve our natural resources and protect public health. I will vigorously defend these rules on behalf of future generations of Californians,” said California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.
The pro-Clean Power Plan group says that New York and eight other states are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which has reduced regional carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 40% from 2005 levels.
Joining New York and California in intervening on behalf of the carbon rule are the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia, the Cities of New York, Boulder, Chicago, Philadelphia, South Miami, and Broward County (FL).
The pro-CPP group is seeking to intervene in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals case No. 15-1363 State of West Virginia and others versus the U.S. EPA and others.