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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General Donovan Joins Coalition to Defend Right to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

October 8, 2019

Contact:  Nicholas F. Persampieri, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-3171

Continuing efforts to protect clean air, Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced that he joined with 30 states and local governments to file a motion to intervene to support the federal government’s authority to establish meaningful emission limits on greenhouse gases from power plants. The intervention pushes back against industry challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority under the Clean Air Act to limit these emissions.

“The climate crisis is real,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Vermont has been and is a national leader in the fight for clean air. Every day we work to protect our environment. My office will continue to do our part and we are not going to stop.”

The motion to intervene, filed in cases brought against EPA by several coal mining companies and other industry interests, is separate and distinct from the action the state and municipal coalition recently took against the EPA over its roll-back of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever nationwide limits on one of the largest sources of climate change pollution, existing fossil-fueled power plants. The EPA’s proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule will have virtually no impact on these emissions. For example, ACE covers only coal-fired plants, while the Clean Power Plan includes gas-fired plants. The ACE limits compliance measures and rules out reliance on other measures such as shifting generation to natural gas, wind and solar plants, which were permissible compliance mechanisms under the Clean Power Plan

While the states in that lawsuit contend that the ACE rule change is unlawful and should be prevented from being implemented, the states do not contest that the EPA has the authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. In fact, they challenge that it has the affirmative obligation to ensure that compliance with the Clean Air Act be based on the emissions reductions achievable through the “best system of emission reduction.”

Joining Attorney General Donovan in the motion to intervene, filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia, as well as the chief legal officers of Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and South Miami.

Last modified: October 8, 2019