Led by the office of New York State Attorney General (AG) Eric T. Schneiderman, a coalition of 25 states, cities and counties has filed a motion to defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan against legal challenge.
The motion to intervene in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit responds to suits that several states and industry groups have filed challenging the federal initiative, which aims to cut carbon emissions from the power sector 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. This includes increasing the electricity generation from non-emitting renewable sources, such as wind and solar.
Joining Schneiderman are the states of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Cities are the District of Columbia; New York; Boulder, Colo.; Chicago; Philadelphia; and South Miami, Fla., as well as Broward County, Fla.
The EPA adopted the Clean Power Plan through a multiyear stakeholder process that drew heavily on the experience of states and utilities in reducing power plant greenhouse gas emissions. A number of states, including New York, have already taken roles in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by moving forward with their own programs, says the AG.
"The EPA's Clean Power Plan is a critical step forward in responding to the threat of climate change. The rule is firmly grounded in science and the law," states Schneiderman. "The rule incorporates successful strategies New York and other states have used to cut climate change pollution from power plants while maintaining electricity reliability, holding the line on utility bills and growing our economies. We are committed to aggressively defending the Clean Power Plan to ensure progress is made in confronting climate change."
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. According to the AG, an independent analysis found that in the first three years of the RGGI program, the reinvestment of allowance auction proceeds is reducing total energy bills across the region by $1.3 billion and adding $1.6 billion to the regional economy, as well as creating an estimated 16,000 jobs in the process.Â
"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," adds California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.
A copy of the motion can be found here.