ATTORNEY GENERAL GURBIR GREWAL
TOTAL ACTIONS: 18
Updated August 8, 2018
Submitted Comments to EPA on Risk Evaluations for Toxic Substances
A coalition of 11 Attorneys General submitted comments to the EPA strongly critical of the Agency’s proposed framework for the evaluation of the risk posed by toxic chemicals like asbestos to public health and the environment. The AGs argue in their comments that the EPA’s new proposal is counter to the intended purpose of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which was signed into law just two years ago on June 22, 2016. The Lautenberg Act was passed as an amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The AGs contend that Congress amended TSCA in a clear attempt to remove obstacles that had prevented the EPA from playing “a more robust role in protecting public health and the environment,” and that the Agency’s attempt to ignore known uses of toxic chemicals represents an “unlawfully restrictive application of TSCA.” The AGs argue that this can only result in “deeply flawed risk evaluations” that “make it impossible for EPA to fulfill its statutory mandate.”
[Comments | 11 AGs: Massachusetts, California, Hawai’i, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia]
August 2, 2018
Announced intention to file suit against the EPA, DOT over Car Emissions Standards
A coalition of 20 Attorneys General announced that they were prepared to fight the Trump Administration’s proposal to revoke California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act, which allows the State to set its own emissions standard for greenhouse gas emissions. The AGs announced that they are also prepared for a legal battle over the Administration’s proposal to weaken emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2021 through 2026.
12 States and the District of Columbia have adopted the emissions standards set by California, which is the only State that is able to set its own standard under federal law. AGs from all 12 States and the District of Columbia joined the coalition.
[Statement | 20 AGs: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia]
July 26, 2018
Filed Amicus Brief Challenging Appellate Court Ruling on HFC Prohibition
A coalition of 18 Attorneys General filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn a divided U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Mexichem Flour vs. EPA (2017). Relying on a strained reading of the Clean Air Act, a divided lower court ruled that EPA does not have the authority to phase out the use of hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) in air conditioning and refrigerants, even though HFCs are potent greenhouse gases (“air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act) that contribute significantly to climate change.
In their brief, the AGs advanced a compelling argument that the lower court erred in its reading of Section 612 of the Clean Air Act. They joined with environmental and industry petitioners in requesting Supreme Court review.
[Amicus Brief | 18 AGs: Massachusetts; Connecticut; Delaware; Hawai’i; Illinois; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; Minnesota; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; and the District of Columbia]
July 25, 2018
Submitted Comments to FERC arguing for Stronger Economic, Environmental Reviews for New Pipelines
A coalition of 8 Attorneys General led by Massachusetts AG Maura Healey filed comments with FERC asking for a stronger review process for new natural gas pipelines, raising concerns that FERC’s decision-making process is too narrowly focused on the concerns of industry. The AG’s comments recommended probing the relationship between utilities and gas pipeline proponents, evaluating regional energy needs and a more comprehensive environmental analyses including the evaluation of potential climate impacts. FERC has approved 180 billion cubic feet of new interstate natural gas pipeline construction per day in the 18-year period between 1999 and 2017, a total that the AGs noted “exceeds current national peak demand.”
NY AG Barbara Underwood adopted the MA-led coalition comments and filed separate comments noting that FERC often finishes its approval process too quickly, overriding New York’s ability to complete its own assessment of the environment impacts of new pipelines, and harming the State’s policy priorities with regard to clean energy.
[Joint Comments | NY Comments | 8 AGs: Massachusetts; Illinois; Maryland; New Jersey; Rhode Island; Washington; New York; and the District of Columbia]
July 19, 2018
Filed Suit Against EPA Over Glider Truck Rule
*Update: On July 26, 2018 EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler withdrew the rule at the heart of this suit, representing a major win for the Attorneys General in this case (See memo: “Conditional No Action Assurance Regarding Small Manufacturers of Glider Vehicles”).
A coalition of 16 Attorneys General filed a lawsuit against the EPA for the Agency’s suspension of its 2016 Glider Truck Rule. In its press release announcing the suite, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that EPA’s decision is dangerous to human health and the environment. “The EPA itself has estimated that adding 10,000 gliders with non-compliant engines onto our roads in a single year could result in up to 1,600 premature deaths, 415,000 tons of additional nitrogen oxide emissions, and 6,800 tons of additional particulate matter emissions over the lifetime of those trucks. We look forward to making our case in court and to holding the EPA accountable for its blatant violation of our laws.”
[Release | Petition for Review | 16 AGs: California; Delaware; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Minnesota; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington; and the District of Columbia]
July 13, 2018
Submitted a Letter Demanding Immediate Withdrawal of EPAs Glider Truck Rule
A coalition of 13 Attorneys General submitted a letter critical of EPA’s new guidance on its “Glider Rule” limiting the number of new, extremely high polluting trucks allowed per year. The AGs’ letter demands that Acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler revoke EPA’s “de facto suspension” of the Glider Rule, a decision the AGs write is “clearly unlawful.”
The coalition argued that EPA’s decision would have a dramatic and detrimental impact on the environment and public health based on the Agency’s own data. The States also announced that “absent quick action on your part to withdraw or stay EPA’s de facto suspension, the States are prepared to take action in court.”
[Letter | 13 AGs: California; Connecticut; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Vermont; and Washington]
June 27, 2018
Filed Amicus Brief Objecting to Removal of Independent Scientists from Advisory Committees
A coalition of 9 Attorneys General filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in Physicians for Social Responsibility, et al. v. E. Scott Pruitt objecting to the removal of independent scientists from EPA’s Science Advisory Board. The AGs noted that EPA’s new directive “Strengthening and Improving Membership on EPA Advisory Committees” used the pretense of potential conflicts of interest to force scientists receiving EPA funding for academic research to resign their advisory board positions, “despite the lack of any documented ethical problems” and decades of EPA precedent.
The AGs noted that EPA’s directive does not apply to industry-funded or industry-employed members of the Science Advisory Board, including members that represent private interests well within the scope of EPA’s regulatory authority. As a result of the directive, industry affiliated members now comprise 70 percent of the Science Advisory Board, up from 40 percent previously.
[Amicus Brief | 9 AGs: Washington; California; Illinois; Iowa; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; and Oregon]
June 26, 2018
Petitioned for Review of EPA’s HFC Rule
A coalition of 11 Attorneys General filed a petition requesting the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the EPA’s industry guidance on hydroflourocarbons (HFCs), a potent greenhouse gas. The AGs are challenging EPA’s action entitled “Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Notification of Guidance and a Stakeholder Meeting Concerning the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program,” seeking a determination by the court pursuant to section 307(d)(9) of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7607(d)(9).
The petition calls EPA’s guidance “unlawful,” and demonstrates the commitment of States to protect the landmark environmental protections established by the Clean Air Act.
[Petition | 11 AGs: New York; California; Delaware; Illinois; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New Jersey; Oregon; Vermont; Washington; and the District of Columbia.]
May 29, 2018
Submitted Letter to NAS on EPA proposal to limit science in rulemaking
A coalition of seven attorneys general and five city attorneys submitted a letter requesting the National Academy of Sciences to formally comment on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rule to limit the use of scientific evidence in rulemakings.
"Because of the importance of this issue to public health and the environment, and because EPA has not indicated that it intends to seek appropriate input and guidance from the leading scientists in the nation on this fundamental question of the use of science in EPA's execution of its mission, we write to you directly to ask that the National Academy review and comment on EPA's proposal," wrote the attorneys general in the letter.
[ Release | Letter | 7 AGs: Delaware; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; Oregon; and District of Columbia ]
May 22, 2018
Sued FERC for PennEast Pipeline Approval
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed a petition with the District of Columbia Circuit Court over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the PennEast pipeline which runs through the state.
[ Petition | 1 AG: New Jersey ]
May 2, 2018
Filed Comments Challenging Proposed Rollbacks of Penalties for Fuel Economy Violations
Thirteen attorneys general submitted comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over a proposal to cut by over 60 percent the penalty to automakers for violating national fuel economy standards. The AGs argued that NHTSA has no authority to reduce the penalty, and that the rollback is "arbitrary and capricious," and will undermine national fuel economy standards by slashing the penalties that incentivize automakers to comply with them.
[ Comments |13 AGs: California; Delaware; Illinois; Iowa; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; Oregon; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; and Washington, D.C.]
May 1, 2018
Sued EPA for Proposal to Roll Back Vehicle Emissions Standards
18 attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for beginning the process of rolling back critical vehicle emissions standards that help to ensure clean air. The lawsuit seeks to set aside and hold unlawful EPA's effort to weaken national clean car standards by tossing out greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2022-2025 vehicles.
[Release | Lawsuit | 18 AGs: California; Connecticut; Delaware; Illinois; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New Jersey; New York; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; and Washington, D.C.]
April 9, 2018
Submitted FOIA Request Over Offshore Drilling Exemption Interior Gave to Florida
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal "called on the U.S. Department of the Interior to fully explain its decision to exempt Florida from offshore drilling, while refusing to do the same for New Jersey...the Attorney General submitted a Freedom of Information Act request seeking all correspondence and internal documents related to any meetings and conversations that took place between the offices of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Florida Governor Rick Scott in the run-up to the announcement of Florida’s exemption from offshore drilling on January 9, 2018."
[Release | FOIA | New Jersey]
March 9, 2018
Urged Congress to Fund EPA, Strip Anti-Environment Riders from Budget
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman led a coalition of 14 attorneys general in sending a letter to congressional leaders urging them "to ensure that funding for the Environmental Protection Agency is maintained at least at its FY 2017 levels, that EPA’s vital core and specific programs receive necessary continued funding, and that all anti-environmental riders that would prohibit, de-fund or otherwise amend key health and environmental protection policies of the Agency are omitted from the spending measure."
[Comments | 14 AGs: California; Delaware; Illinois; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia; Washington, D.C.]
March 9, 2018
Opposed Offshore Drilling Plans in Comments Filed with Interior
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh led a coalition of 12 state attorneys general in filing comments with the Department of the Interior expressing strong opposition to plans to expand drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico. "The Secretary of the Interior should defer to our opposition to drilling in areas off our states' coasts, and should exclude all such areas from any new or revised [Outer Continental Shelf] leasing program. Indeed, failure to do so would be inconsistent with the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act…and the Department of Interior's past practice of not imposing offshore drilling over state opposition."
[ Release | Comments | 12 AGs: California; Connecticut; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Rhode Island; Virginia; Washington]
February 6, 2018
Sued EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to Block "Unlawful" Delay of Clean Water Rule
In U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, New York Attorney Genera Eric Schneiderman led a group of 11 attorneys general in suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for suspending for two years the Clean Water Rule. The attorneys general argue the EPA ignored scientific evidence and a multi-year comment process and changed the definition of "waters of the United States."
[Release | Complaint | 11 AGs: California; Connecticut; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington; and Washington, D.C.]
February 1, 2018
Urged Secretary Zinke to Terminate Offshore Drilling Plans
A coalition of 12 attorneys general, led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, sent a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke urging him to terminate Interior's plan in the Draft Proposed Program to expand offshore drilling.
[Release | Letter | 12 AGs: California; Connecticut; Delaware; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Rhode Island; Virginia]
January 30, 2018
Withdrew from Christie-Era Lawsuit Opposing the Clean Power Plan
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal field paperwork to "withdraw from West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a case working its way through the federal courts in which certain states, including New Jersey, sued the federal government in an effort to undo President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) regulations."
[Release | New Jersey]