Total Lawsuits: 63
Updated July 31, 2019.
July 9, 2019
Washington AG Challenged U.S. Navy’s Failure to Adequately Assess Noise Impacts of Increased Growler Jet Operations
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the U.S. Navy over its failure to sufficiently analyze the noise impacts of its recent decision to increase operations of EA-18G Growler jets at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. In the complaint, Attorney General Ferguson warned that the increased activity will “significantly impact the people, landscape, and wildlife of Whidbey Island and the broader region,” and will “adversely affect public health, public schools, and historic areas” as well as local populations of birds, land animals and marine species. Attorney General Ferguson asserted that the Navy’s environmental impact statement failed to meet the National Environmental Policy Act’s requirements that federal agencies take a “hard look” at the impacts of their proposed actions on public health and wildlife, and consider appropriate measures to mitigate those impacts. Attorney General Ferguson also asserted that the Navy violated the National Historic Preservation Act by failing to “make a reasonable and good faith effort” to mitigate the adverse impacts of increased jet activity on the Central Whidbey Island Historic District and Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.
[ Complaint | Press Release | 1 AG: Washington ]
June 28, 2019
Eleven AGs Challenged EPA’s Refusal to Protect Public Health by Strengthening Asbestos Reporting Requirements
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a coalition of 11 attorneys general in suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its denial of the states’ January 2019 petition to close loopholes in the agency’s data reporting requirements for asbestos. In their complaint, the attorneys general noted that the EPA’s decision to deny their petition violates its statutory obligations under the Toxic Substances Control Act’s Chemical Data Reporting rule, which requires the agency to fully evaluate and mitigate the risks associated with toxic substances that pose a known danger to human health and the environment. The petition would have forced the EPA to address a significant loophole in its current asbestos data reporting requirements that applies to the majority of asbestos-containing materials that are imported into the United States. The provision of this data would be consistent with the “right to know” intent of the Toxic Substances Control Act, and would provide states with critical information needed to keep their communities safe.
[ Complaint | MA Press Release | CA Press Release | 11 AGs: Massachusetts; California; Connecticut; Hawai'i; Maine; Maryland; Minnesota; New Jersey; Oregon; Washington; Washington, D.C ]
June 6, 2019
Washington AG Sued EPA Over Weakening of State Water Quality Standards
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the agency's May 2019 decision to unilaterally weaken Washington’s water quality standards over the objection of AG Ferguson and Washington Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon. In the complaint, AG Ferguson noted that the EPA's changes to the state’s water quality standards violate the Clean Water Act, which allows the EPA to revise state water quality standards only if the agency determines that current standards are not stringent enough to protect human health, or if the standards submitted by a state do not meet the applicable requirements of the statute. AG Ferguson asked the court for a declaration invalidating and vacating the EPA's decision, and for an injunction preventing the agency from making any future attempts to unlawfully revise Washington’s water quality standards.
[ Complaint | Release | 1 AG: Washington ]
May 30, 2019
New York AG Challenged FERC’s Approval of Northern Access Pipeline
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit seeking review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) August 2018 order finding that the state waived its Clean Water Act certification authority for National Fuel’s Northern Access pipeline. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) received an application for certification of the project under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act in March 2016, and subsequently entered into an agreement with National Fuel to revise the date of receipt to April 2016. In April 2017, within the one-year statutory limit for state review, NYDEC denied certification for the project. However, in August 2018, FERC sided with Natural Fuel and found that NYDEC exceeded the one-year limit and waived its certification authority, and subsequently denied NYDEC’s request for rehearing. In the petition for review, AG James argues FERC’s waiver order and rehearing denial should be “set aside in whole as illegal, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.”
[ Petition for Review | 1 AG: New York ]
May 29, 2019
New Hampshire AG Sued Manufacturers and Sellers of PFAS Products
New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald filed a lawsuit against eight chemical companies over per- and polyfluoralkyl substance (PFAS) contamination resulting from the manufacture and sale of firefighting foam, and an additional lawsuit against DuPont, Chemours and 3M over the manufacture and sale of other products containing PFAS. In the lawsuits, AG MacDonald alleges that the companies continued to manufacture and sell products containing PFAS despite being aware of the persistent and bioaccumulative nature of the chemicals. The lawsuit seeks repayment for the costs of remediation, as well as “enhanced compensatory damages” on the grounds that the companies’ actions were "committed intentionally, wantonly, maliciously and/or oppressively." AG MacDonald expressed hope that the companies named in the lawsuit “will recognize the severity of the issues they've caused and will become part of the solution.”
[ Complaint 2 | Complaint 1 | 1 AG: New Hampshire ]
May 14, 2019
New Jersey AG Sued Manufacturers and Sellers of PFAS Products
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed a lawsuit against eight companies — including 3M, DuPont and Chemours — over the manufacture and sale of firefighting products containing harmful per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS). In the lawsuit, AG Grewal alleges that the companies produced, advertised and sold aqueous film-forming foam products for decades despite knowing that they contained hazardous PFAS chemicals. The lawsuit explains the severe public health and environmental threat posed by PFAS chemicals, and emphasizes that the contaminants “are mobile, persist indefinitely in the environment, bioaccumulate in individual organisms and humans, and biomagnify up the food chain.” The lawsuit seeks payment for the costs of a full investigation and remediation and restoration efforts, as well as natural resource damages and other penalties.
[ Complaint | Release | 1 AG: New Jersey ]
April 26, 2019
North Carolina Filed Brief to Protect Ratepayers from Coal Ash Cleanup Costs
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filed a brief with the North Carolina Supreme Court requesting the court overturn the North Carolina Utilities Commission’s decision to allow Duke Energy to pass the costs of its coal ash cleanup obligations on to ratepayers. In his brief, Attorney General Stein noted that Duke Energy had knowingly violated state law for years by continuing to dump coal ash in unlined ponds, and that the Utilities Commission had erred when it allowed the company’s subsidiaries (Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas) to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in profit by charging ratepayers for cleaning up its own pollution. Attorney General Stein noted that the cleanup costs are the direct result of Duke Energy’s own mismanagement and unlawful conduct, and should therefore be borne by shareholders, not ratepayers.
[ Brief | Release | 1 AG: North Carolina ]
April 12, 2019
New York Sued EPA Over Failure to Regulate Cross-State Ozone Pollution
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s failure to regulate ozone pollution from upwind states. The suit followed the EPA’s failure to respond to a petition filed by New York in March 2018, pursuant to the “Good Neighbor” obligations set forth under Section 126(b) of Clean Air Act, in which New York identified power plants in nine states whose nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions prevented the New York Metropolitan Area from attaining 2008 and 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone. In the lawsuit, Attorney General James noted that the state’s persistently unsafe levels of ozone pollution regularly compromises the health and welfare of more than 12 million New Yorkers living in the New York Metropolitan Area, and on particularly bad days can affect as many as 16 million residents of her state.
[ Lawsuit | 1 AG: New York ]
April 5, 2019
California Sued EPA and NHTSA for Withholding Data on Clean Car Standards
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over the agencies’ inadequate responses to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for critical information related to the administration’s proposal to roll back national Clean Car Standards. Noting the unprecedented decision to withhold their underlying analysis from the public prior to moving forward with a new rulemaking, regulators at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requested documents from both federal agencies concerning their analysis of “vehicle fleet composition, new car sales, vehicle safety, battery technology, and other information that NHTSA and EPA used in proposing to roll back vehicle emission and fuel economy standards.” In the state’s new lawsuit, filed by AG Becerra on behalf of CARB, California is alleging that the EPA failed to make timely determinations on CARB's September 2018 FOIA request and that the NHTSA failed to adequately justify its decision to withhold the requested material.
[ Lawsuit | 1 AG: California ]
April 4, 2019
Challenged Unconstitutional “2-For-1” Executive Order
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against President Trump’s “Two-for-One” Executive Order requiring federal agencies to repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation that is legally promulgated. The Order has been used to justify the attempted rollback of environmental regulations that were put in place in response to federal agencies’ statutory obligations under bedrock environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act.
In their complaint, the attorneys general asked the court to find the order unconstitutional, noting that it violates the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine by requiring agencies to repeal two congressionally-authorized rules for every new congressionally-authorized rule that agencies issue — regardless of the agencies’ independent statutory obligations to implement Congressional directives.
[ Lawsuit | Release | 3 AGs: California; Minnesota; Oregon ]
March 27, 2019
New Jersey Sued Chemical Companies Over Hazardous Waste Dumping
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed four natural resource damage lawsuits against DuPont, Chemours and 3M. AG Grewal alleges that the companies violated New Jersey’s Water Pollution Control Act and its Spill Compensation and Control Act, while simultaneously misleading the public about the dangers associated with the dumping of hazardous chemicals in the state. Two of the complaints focus on the companies’ use of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), an emerging environmental and public health issue. The other two complaints concern contamination of groundwater, surface water and other natural resources with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, mercury, lead and other contaminants.
[ Release | 1 AG: New Jersey ]
March 20, 2019
Washington Intervened in Lawsuit Against U.S. Navy Over Clean Water Act Violations in Puget Sound
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a motion to intervene in ongoing litigation brought by environmental groups and a Native American tribe challenging the U.S. Navy’s release of pollutants into the Puget Sound. The lawsuit alleges that the Navy released the equivalent of fifty dump truck loads of pollutants, including copper and zinc, into the Sound when it scraped the hull of a ship in January 2017. Copper and zinc are highly toxic to marine life, and the Navy lacked a permit to lawfully discharge the pollutants into the Sound.
[ Motion to Intervene | Release | 1 AG: Washington ]
March 7, 2019
New Jersey Sued ExxonMobil Over Illegal Dumping of Hazardous Waste
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil for contamination stemming from "industrial dumping activity" at the company's 12-acre Lail property in Gloucester County, NJ. The lawsuit alleges that beginning in the 1950s, ExxonMobil "used the Lail property to dispose of drums containing petroleum products and other hazardous substances,” resulting in contamination of wetlands and waterways. Despite the removal of drums in the 1990s and remediation efforts in the late 2000s, recent inspections detected the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a class of chemicals known to cause reproductive, developmental, respiratory and dermatological issues in humans and animals. The lawsuit seeks natural resource damages for ongoing testing and remediation efforts.
[ Lawsuit | Release | 1 AG: New Jersey ]
March 5, 2019
New Mexico Sued U.S. Air Force Over PFAS Groundwater Contamination
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force for contamination of drinking water supplies near U.S. Air Force bases in New Mexico. The complaint alleges that the U.S. Air Force has sprayed firefighting foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on the ground and tarmacs in fire training and actual firefighting events at the New Mexico bases for more than 50 years, allowing PFAS to seep into the surrounding groundwater in violation of the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act. New Mexico is seeking injunctive relief requiring abatement of ongoing violations of the Act and a permanent injunction for the Air Force to take all steps necessary to achieve permanent and consistent compliance with the Act.
[ Lawsuit | 1 AG: New Mexico ]
February 18, 2019
Filed Lawsuit Challenging President Trump’s Declaration of a National Emergency to Divert Funding for Border Wall Construction
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a coalition of 20 attorneys general in filing a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency for the purpose of diverting funding toward construction of a wall along the southern border. In their lawsuit, the AGs noted that wall construction “will cause irreparable environmental damage” to California and New Mexico’s natural resources, including dozens of plant and animal species protected under the Endangered Species Act.
[ Complaint | Release | 20 AGs: California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Hawai'i; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia; Wisconsin ]
January 8, 2019
Sued Mercedes-Benz USA and Daimler AG Over Diesel Emissions Scheme
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a consumer fraud suit against Mercedes-Benz USA and its parent company Daimler AG regarding the company’s marketing of its BlueTEC vehicles. AG Brnovich’s lawsuit alleges that the German automaker used a “defeat device” allowing its vehicles to pass computer tests for emission limits, while the vehicles’ on-the-road emissions far exceeded those limits.
[ Lawsuit | Release | 1 AG: Arizona ]
January 7, 2019
Moved to Intervene in Multi-State Lawsuit Challenging Permits for Seismic Testing Along the Atlantic Coast
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson moved to intervene in the federal lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service challenging seismic testing permits for offshore oil and gas drilling along the Atlantic Coast. AG Wilson noted that NOAA failed to provide a factual basis justifying its finding that seismic testing would not jeopardize the existence of threatened or endangered species, rendering the decision arbitrary and capricious. In the lawsuit, AG Wilson emphasized the threat that seismic testing poses to South Carolina’s fishing and tourism sectors.
[ Motion to Intervene | 1 AG: South Carolina ]
December 20, 2018
Moved to Intervene in Lawsuit Challenging Permits for Seismic Testing Along the Atlantic Coast
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh led a coalition of nine state attorneys general in filing a motion to intervene in a lawsuit currently before the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina challenging the Trump administration’s decision to allow five companies to begin seismic testing for oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. The attorneys general sought a court injunction halting final authorizations issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration allowing the companies to incidentally harass marine mammals during seismic testing.
[ Motion to Intervene | Release | 9 AGs: Maryland; Connecticut; Delaware; Maine; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Virginia ]
December 7, 2018
Sued Mountain Valley Pipeline Company Over Environmental Violations
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia State Water Control Board sued Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, over violations of state water quality, sediment control, and storm-water management laws and regulations. The lawsuit alleges that Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, failed to comply with the conditions of a state water quality permit issued by Virginia, and required for compliance with Section 401(a) of the Clean Water Act.
[ Release | Lawsuit | 1 AG: Virginia ]
December 4, 2018
Filed a Motion to Intervene in Suit Over EPA Failure to Regulate Ground-Level Ozone Pollution
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed a motion to intervene in ongoing litigation first brought by Delaware Attorney General Matthew Denn and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh over the EPA’s refusal to regulate ground-level ozone pollution from upwind states. The litigation began over the EPA’s October 2018 decision to deny four petitions brought by Delaware and one petition brought by Maryland to regulate out of state emissions adversely impacting the states’ ability to attain compliance with 2008 and 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards. New York has an unresolved petition before the EPA naming the same upwind sources cited in the Delaware and Maryland petitions.
[ Release | Motion to Intervene | 2 AGs: New York; New Jersey ]
November 5, 2018
Submitted a Petition to Review EPA’s Decision Not to Regulate Upwind Emissions from Neighboring States
Delaware Attorney General Matthew Denn submitted a petition for review to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia over the EPA’s decision to deny four petitions submitted by the state over emissions from neighboring states. In its petitions, Delaware requested that EPA find that emissions from neighboring states were contributing to Delaware’s nonattainment of ozone national ambient air quality standards. The EPA denied Delaware’s petitions, as well as a separate petition filed by Maryland in a final decision filed on October 5, 2018.
UPDATE: On December 4, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed a motion to intervene in the litigation. The motion has been granted.
[ Petiton for Review | 1 AG: Delaware ]
October 24, 2018
Sued Exxon Mobil for Misleading Investors Over Risk of Climate Change Regulations
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp. alleging that the company "misled investors regarding the risk that climate change regulations posed to its business." In her suit, AG Underwood notes that Exxon Mobil spent years assuring investors that it was fully accounting for the probability of future regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, but that the company was privately failing to take any of the underlying action it had promised, hiding its financial exposure to investors.
[ Release | Lawsuit | 1 AG: New York ]
October 23, 2018
Filed a Motion to Intervene in Lawsuit Over EPA’s Rollback of Air Toxic Compliance Requirements for Cement Plants
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a motion to intervene in Downwinders at Risk v. EPA, a lawsuit brought against an EPA rule finalized in July 2018 severely weakening existing air toxic compliance requirements for portland cement plants. The AGs noted that, instead of meeting its statutory obligations under section 112(d)(6) to review the Agency’s industry specific standards for hazardous air pollutants and propose new technology-based emission standards mitigating public risk, the EPA’s final rule establishes a regulatory loop-hole allowing cement kiln operators to evade emissions standards through periodically shutting down their operations.
The AG’s note that the EPA’s new six-month compliance holiday for cement kiln operators can be applied to any shutdown event, allowing operators to space out shutdown events periodically to avoid any future compliance with existing emissions standards. The AGs also noted that disadvantaged communities bear the greatest exposure to hazardous air pollution from cement kilns, which emit dangerous carcinogens and neurotoxins including mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and dioxins.
[ Release | Motion to Intervene | 2 AGs: California; Illinois ]
October 15, 2018
Sued the EPA Over Failure to Regulate NOx Emissions from Neighboring States
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sued the EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for its refusal to require power plants in neighboring states to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Maryland initially petitioned the EPA to regulate nitrogen oxide emissions in nearby states in November 2016 under the Clean Air Act. In its petition, Maryland noted that out-of-state nitrogen oxide is a precursor to the dangerous levels of ozone that plague the State in the hot summer months. In June 2018, a Maryland federal judge ordered the EPA to make a final decision on Maryland’s 2016 petition, which the EPA subsequently denied in September. Maryland is suing the EPA over the denial of its petition to protect residents of the state from the negative health consequences of out-of-state pollution.
UPDATE: On November 5, Delaware Attorney General Matthew Denn submitted a Petition to Review over the EPA’s decision to deny its four petitions to regulate ground-level ozone pollution from neighboring states. On December 4, New York and New Jersey filed a Motion to Intervene in the litigation, which has subsequently been granted.
[ Release | Petition for Review | 1 AG: Maryland ]
September 18, 2018
Filed Suit Over Administration’s Repeal of the Methane Waste Prevention Rule
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed suit against the Trump Administration on September 18 over the Administration’s decision to dismantle the Obama-era Methane Waste Prevention Rule. In their lawsuit, the attorneys general called the Methane Waste Prevention Rule “a commonsense measure” that would “reduce the enormous waste of natural gas on public lands that results from venting, flaring, and equipment leaks.” The AGs also noted that the Administration’s rollback of the rule comes in the wake of its attempt to “illegally delay and suspend its implementation.”
“With this attempt to axe the Waste Prevention Rule, the Trump Administration risks the air our children breathe and at taxpayers’ expense,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We’ve sued the Administration before over the illegal delay and suspension of this rule and will continue doing everything in our power to hold them accountable for the sake of our people and planet.”
[ Release | Lawsuit | 2 AGs: California; New Mexico ]
September 10, 2018
Submitted Petition to Review for the EPA’s Mercury Inventory Rule
Vermont Attorney General T. J. Donovan submitted a petition for review to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for the EPA’s “Mercury; Reporting Requirements for the TSCA Mercury Inventory” rule. The EPA is required to develop mercury reporting regulations under the Toxic Controlled Substances Act (TSCA), which directs the Agency to create a comprehensive inventory of mercury “supply, use and trade” in the United States. The EPA’s final rule exempts companies from reporting industrial mercury use if those companies are already reporting under TSCA’s Chemical Data Reporting requirements, which critics argue violates Congress’s clear intent under the law, and will lead to an incomplete and outdated inventory of mercury.
[ Petition | 1 AG: Vermont ]
September 5, 2018
Sued Interior Over Opinion Gutting Enforcement of the MBTA
Eight attorneys general sued the Interior Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Interior’s Acting-Solicitor Daniel Jorjani over the Trump Administration’s decision to reverse decades of regulatory precedent related to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The AGs brought their suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and are asking the court to vacate what is known as the Jorjani Opinion, a December 2017 Solicitor’s Opinion reinterpreting the scope of the MBTA.
The AGs’ suit argues that the Administration’s new interpretation of the MBTA is inconsistent with the legislative intent of the MBTA to prohibit the unintentional harming of migratory birds, and is an arbitrary and capricious regulatory action in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
[ Release | Lawsuit | 8 AGs: New York; California; Illinois; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New Mexico; Oregon ]
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; Washington, D.C. ]
July 2, 2018
Rhode Island Sued Fossil Fuel Companies Over Impacts of Climate Change
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin filed a lawsuit in state court against 21 fossil fuel companies, including Chevron Corporation, Exxon Mobil, BP and other major oil producers. The suit advances eight claims against the fossil fuel companies for producing, promoting and marketing of fossil fuel products, while concealing the known hazards of their products. AG Kilmartin alleged that the 21 companies were directly responsible for the release of hundreds of gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions between 1965 and 2015 that have caused harm that Rhode Island has experienced and will continue to experience in the future. The severe harms include substantial sea level rise, more frequent and severe flooding, extreme precipitation events and drought.
[ Complaint | Release |1 AG: Rhode Island ]
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; Washington, D.C. ]
June 4, 2018
Joined Suit Challenging Arbitrary 2-for-1 Executive Order
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a motion to intervene in Public Citizen, Inc., et al. vs. Trump, et. al. to challenge a Trump Executive Order that requires most federal agencies to repeal at least two existing regulations for every new major regulation an agency issues. The executive order instructs federal agencies to focus on cost burdens to industry and discount the societal benefits of environmental, health and safety measures.
[ Motion | 2 AGs: California; Oregon ]
May 31, 2018
Sued EPA Over Failure to Implement Landfill Methane Regulation
A coalition of eight Attorneys General filed a lawsuit against the EPA over its failure to implement and enforce a critical landfill methane regulation. The regulation would reduce landfill emissions of volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants, carbon dioxide, and methane. It went into effect on October 28, 2016, but the EPA has not implemented or enforced it.
[ Complaint | 8 AGs: California; Illinois; Maryland; New Mexico; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont ]
May 31, 2018
Sued EPA to Protect Workers from Pesticide Poisoning
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a lawsuit along with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh against the EPA over its decision to suspend critical safeguards protecting agricultural workers from pesticides. EPA suspended the new training requirements under the Agricultural Work Protection Standard without following the necessary public notice and comment procedures. The lawsuit being brought by the attorneys general asserts that the EPA's suspension is arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. In June, the EPA reversed its decision announced that it would publish the expanded safety training materials.
[ Complaint | 3 AGs: California; Maryland; New York ]
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 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; Washington, D.C. ]
April 10, 2018
Sued EPA for Illegal Repeal of "Once In, Always In" Rule that Restricts Toxic Air Pollution
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a new lawsuit against EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for its illegal attempt to repeal the “Once In, Always In” policy that requires major industrial sources of hazardous air pollutants to permanently keep toxics pollution controls in place. Attorney General Becerra is “urging the Court to invalidate EPA’s repeal, because it contravenes the intent of Congress expressed in the Clean Air Act and it constitutes an arbitrary and capricious reversal of the Agency’s position.” The California Air Resources Board joined Attorney General Becerra in filing suit in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
[ Release | Petition for Review | 1 AG: California ]
April 5, 2018
Sued EPA For Failing to Control Methane Pollution
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and 14 other attorneys general "filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for ignoring its legal duty to control emissions of methane – an extremely potent greenhouse gas – from existing oil and gas operations. Specifically, the suit charges that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has violated the federal Clean Air Act by 'unreasonably delaying' its mandatory obligation under the Act to control methane emissions from these operations."
[ Release | Complaint | 15 AGs: California; Connecticut; Illinois; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington; Washington, D.C. ]
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. ]
January 24, 2018
Sued Trump Administration Over Repeal of Fracking Rule
In District Court, Northern District of California, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of the Interior’s repeal of the Fracking Rule for federal and tribal lands that would have required solid drilling-well construction, proper wastewater management, and the disclosure of chemicals used during the fracking process.
[ Release | Complaint | 1 AG: California ]
January 17, 2018
Sued EPA For Failing To Protect Residents From Out-Of-State Air Pollution
Attorneys general "filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for violating the federal Clean Air Act by failing to curb ground-level ozone (or “smog”) pollution that blows into New York" and Connecticut.
[ Release | Complaint | 2 AGs: Connecticut; New York ]
December 26, 2017
Sued EPA for Failing to Protect Residents from Out-of-State Pollution
Eight attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, sued EPA "to force action under the Clean Air Act to ensure upwind states adequately control the pollution that blows into New York and other downwind states...Specifically, the suit challenges the EPA’s denial of a petition that New York and several other states filed in late 2013 for the Agency to add nine additional states to the 'Ozone Transport Region,' a group of states established under the federal Clean Air Act that must act in concert to reduce smog pollution within the region."
[ Release | Complaint | 8 AGs: Connecticut; Delaware; Maryland; Massachusetts; New York; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont ]
December 19, 2017
After Winning Previous Lawsuit, Sued Dept. of the Interior for Suspending Methane Waste Prevention Rule
Attorneys general filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) "over its decision to suspend the Waste Prevention Rule. The Rule went into effect on January 17, 2017 but was illegally suspended by the Trump Administration on December 8, 2017. The Rule requires oil and natural gas producers to cut wasteful leakage of methane on federal lands. In the lawsuit, Attorneys General Becerra and Balderas underscored that suspending key provisions of the Rule would be arbitrary and capricious as well as contrary to BLM's statutory mandate to prevent waste and ensure the safe and responsible development of oil and gas resources on public lands."
[ Release | Complaint | 2 AGs: California and New Mexico ]
December 5, 2017
Sued EPA For Flouting Clean Air Requirements
In District Court, Northern District of California, attorneys general sued EPA "for failing to meet the Clean Air Act’s statutory deadline for designating areas of the country impacted by unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone (commonly referred to as smog)...With this suit, the coalition makes good on its pledge to sue the EPA if it failed to meet this key statutory and public health requirement."
[ Release | Complaint | 15 AGs: California; Connecticut; Illinois; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New York; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington; Washington, D.C. ]
October 17, 2017
Sued Dept. of the Interior for Unlawfully Repealing Valuation Rule, Which Ensures Taxpayers Receive Fair Share for Mineral Extraction
In District Court, Northern District of California, attorneys general "for unlawfully repealing a rule that ensures taxpayers and States receive fair value for oil, gas, and coal extracted from public and tribal lands. California and New Mexico apply their portion of these royalties towards public education."
[ Release | Complaint | 2 AGs: California; New Mexico ]
September 27, 2017
Maryland AG Frosh Sued EPA Over Power Plant Pollution Control
In District Court, District of Maryland, Attorney General Brian Frosh sued EPA "for failing to act on a petition requiring power plants in five upwind states to implement air pollution controls...The complaint filed today cites research that 36 power plants in the five neighboring states emit pollution that contributes to poor air quality in Maryland and alleges that the power plants have failed to operate necessary pollution controls that would reduce pollution flowing into Maryland."
[ Release | Complaint | 1 AG: Maryland]
September 21, 2017
California AG Becerra Sued Administration Over Environmental Concerns Near Mexico Border
In District Court, Southern District of California, Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued the Department of Homeland Security, claiming it "violated the U.S. Constitution, failed to comply with federal and state environmental laws, and relied on a federal statute that does not authorize the proposed projects."
[ Release | Complaint | 1 AG: California ]
September 20, 2017
Sued Administration for Illegal Delay of Vehicle Emissions Rule
In District Court, Northern District of California, attorneys general sued the Federal Highway Administration and the Department of Transportation "for their illegal delay of a regulation that would lead to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles on federal highways across the country. The delayed regulation, known as the Greenhouse Gas Performance Measure, requires all states to measure and track greenhouse gas emissions and set locally-appropriate targets."
[ Release | Complaint | 8 AGs: California; Iowa; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Oregon; Vermont; Washington ]
September 11, 2017
Filed Lawsuit To Protect Fuel Efficiency Standards Rule
In the 2nd Court of Appeals in New York City, attorneys general sued the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "for illegally delaying a rule that encourages automakers to produce vehicle fleets that meet or exceed federal fuel efficiency standards.Set to take effect in July 2017, the rule would increase the penalty imposed on automakers whose vehicle fleets do not meet minimum fuel efficiency standards. All federal agencies were required to increase their civil penalty rates by an act of Congress, the 2015 Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. In response, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a new rule to increase the penalty by $8.50 per tenth of a mile per gallon. The Trump Administration has delayed it, reverting back to the lower penalty rate instead. If the penalty is not sufficiently high, automakers lack a vital incentive to manufacture fuel efficient vehicles."
[ Release | Petition for Review | 5 AGs: California; Maryland; New York; Pennsylvania; Vermont ]
August 17, 2017
Sued EPA Over Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site Designation
In District Court, Eastern District of New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit "challenging EPA’s decision to designate a permanent open water disposal site in eastern Long Island Sound for tens of millions of cubic yards of dredged sediments. The EPA’s site designation violates the Ocean Dumping Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act."
[ Release | Complaint | 1 AG: New York ]
August 11, 2017
California Sued EPA for Not Responding to FOIA Request
In D.C. District Court, Attorney General Xavier Becerra "filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. On April 7, the California Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to the EPA requesting documents on Administrator Scott Pruitt’s potential conflicts of interest. The EPA failed to respond by May 11 as required by law. Even after receiving Attorney General Becerra’s June 14 notice of violation letter and having ample time to gather the documents requested, the EPA has still not made the required disclosures."
[ Release | Complaint | 1 AG: California ]
August 1, 2017
Filed Lawsuit Against EPA For Stalling Action On Clean Air
In D.C. Court of Appeals, attorneys general sued EPA for "illegally stalling the designation of areas impacted by unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone (known as smog) – vital to protecting New Yorkers and other Americans from dangerous pollution."
[ Release | Petition for Review | 16 AGs: California; Connecticut; Delaware; Illinois; Iowa; Maine; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington; Washington, D.C. ]
July 25, 2017
Sued EPA for Illegally Delaying Rule that Protect Communities & First Responders from Chemical Accidents
In D.C. Court of Appeals, attorneys general sued EPA "for illegally delaying a vital rule meant to protect communities, workers, and first responders from dangerous chemical accidents. The rule – the Accidental Release Prevention Requirements or the 'Chemical Accident Safety Rule'– makes critical improvements to Congressionally-mandated protections against explosions, fires, poisonous gas releases, and other accidents at more than 12,000 facilities across the country—including over 200 in New York—that store and use toxic chemicals. "
[ Release | Petition for Review | 11 AGs: Illinois; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington ]
July 6, 2017
Challenged EPA's Approval of Toxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos in Foods
In the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, attorneys general "moved to intervene in a lawsuit against the EPA...after filing legal objections with the EPA last month. In March 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took action that allowed the continued use of chlorpyrifos on food crops even while the agency failed to identify a safe level for the pesticide. Chlorpyrifos is widely used, including on fruits and vegetables consumed by infants, young children, and pregnant women, and is shown to negatively impact proper development and functioning of the central nervous system and brain."
[ Release | Motion to Intervene | 6 AGs: Maryland; Massachusetts; New York; Vermont; Washington; Washington, D.C. ]
July 5, 2017
Filed Lawsuit Against the Dept. of the Interior for Illegally Ignoring Methane Waste Prevention Rule
In United States District Court, Northern District of California, attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Managemet for seeking to delay "certain compliance dates of the 'Waste Prevention Rule,' which was promulgated by the Bureau on November 18, 2016. Waste Prevention Rule provides a much-needed update of 38-year-old regulations governing the release of natural gas from new and existing oil and gas operations on federal and Indian lands, and clarifies when gas lost through venting, flaring, or leaks is subject to royalties. The Bureau estimated that the Rule would have substantial annual benefits, including producing up to 41 billion cubic feet of additional natural gas, eliminating 175,000-180,000 tons of methane emissions, cutting emissions of hazardous air pollutants by 250,000-267,000 tons, and generating up to $14 million in additional royalties. The Rule became effective on January 17, 2017."
[ Release | Complaint | Judgment | 2 AGs: California; New Mexico ]
June 20, 2017
Filed Intervention In EPA Lawsuit Seeking Reduction In Greenhouse Gas Emissions
In the D.C. Court of Appeals, attorneys general filed "a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s actions to halt regulation of leaks of greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollutants from new sources in the oil and gas industry."
[ Release | Motion to Intervene | 14 AGs: Connecticut; Delaware; Illinois; Iowa; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington; Washington, D.C. ]
June 13, 2017
Filed Suit Against Dept. of Energy For Failure to Publish Energy Efficiency Standards
In District Court, Northern District of California, attorneys general sued the Department of Energy "over its failure to comply with the law and publish in the Federal Register finalized energy efficiency standards for five products: portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, air compressors, walk-in coolers and freezers and commercial packaged boilers. These standards would save consumers and businesses an estimated $11.6 billion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 159 million tons, and conserve over 242 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity – the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of more than 19.3 million households – over a 30-year period."
[ Release | Complaint | 11 AGs: California; Connecticut; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New York; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Vermont; Washington ]
May 16, 2017
Connecticut AG Jepsen Sued EPA for Failing to Act to Reduce Emissions from Pennsylvania Coal Plant
In District Court, District of Connecticut, Attorney General George Jepsen sue the EPA "for failure to take timely action on a petition from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) asking the EPA to take action to stop pollution from a Pennsylvania coal-fired power plant from blowing our way."
[ Release | Complaint | 1 AG: Connecticut ]
May 10, 2017
Sued Dept. of the Interior Over Restarting Coal Leasing
In District Court, District of Montana, Great Falls Division, attorneys general sued the Department of the Interior after its decision "to restart federal coal leasing on public land while, at the same time, cutting short an ongoing, and long overdue, environmental review of the program." The suit "seeks to protect state residents from dangerous pollution that results from coal mining."
[ Release | Complaint | 4 AGs: California; New Mexico; New York; Washington ]
April 27, 2017
Sued Dept. of the Interior for Delaying Valuation Rule that Ensures Taxpayers Receive Fair Share for Mineral Extraction
In District Court, Northern District of California, attorneys general sued the Dept. of the Interior "for delaying the implementation of one of its own rules promulgated to ensure that taxpayers receive their fair share of royalties from companies that extract oil, gas, and coal from federal lands. The rule, known as the Valuation Rule, was finalized by the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) in the Department of the Interior on July 1, 2016, and went into effect on January 1, 2017. The product of five years of public engagement, the Valuation Rule replaced outdated regulations that no longer ensured that taxpayers received adequate compensation from the extraction of federally-owned natural resources. It also addressed a loophole that allowed the coal industry to sell coal at artificially low prices."
[ Release | Complaint | 2 AGs: California; New Mexico ]
April 18, 2017
Filed to Intervene in Dept. of Energy Lawsuit To Defend Energy Efficiency Standards
In the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, attorneys general filed a motion to intervene "in order to defend energy saving light bulb regulations. In March, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) filed a lawsuit against DOE challenging energy efficiency regulations for lamps (light bulbs)...The challenged regulations broaden the definition of a category of lamp that is subject to stringent energy standards so that it now includes incandescent light bulbs as well as other historically inefficient lighting technologies. The lamp regulations were finalized in January 2017 and would result in substantial reductions in energy usage and the associated emissions, as well as increased cost savings for consumers."
[ Release | Motion to Intervene | 7 AGs: California; Massachusetts; New York; Oregon; Vermont; Washington; Washington, D.C ]
April 5, 2017
Opposed EPA's Efforts To Stall Clean Power Plan Case
In the D.C. Court of Appeals, attorneys general "filed opposition to the Trump administration’s request to delay court proceedings regarding the Clean Power Plan...after President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to review the Clean Power Plan and decide whether to 'suspend, rescind, or revise' it...EPA filed a motion asking the court to hold the litigation in abeyance while the Agency reconsiders the rule."
[ Release | Opposition | 18 AGs: California; Connecticut; Deleware; Hawai'i; Illinois; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; Washington, D.C. ]
April 3, 2017
Challenged Department of Energy For Blocking Energy Efficiency Standards
In the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City, attorneys general filed a petition "challenging the Department’s delay in issuing its Energy Conservation Standard for Ceiling Fans. The Department of Energy has estimated that over a thirty-year period this standard would save enough electricity to power between 10 and 35 million U.S. households for a year. The Standard for Ceiling Fans should have gone into effect on March 20, 2017, but has now been delayed twice."
[ Release | Petition for Review | 9 AGs: California; Connecticut; Illinois; Maine; Massachusetts; New York; Oregon; Vermont; Washington ]
January 24, 2017
Filed to Intervene in EPA Suit to Keep Truck Emissions Rule in Place
In D.C. District Court, attorneys general filed a motion to intervene "to preserve a federal program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and engines...the attorneys general state they have substantial interests in strong, federal greenhouse gas emissions standards because such standards are needed – as part of broader efforts – to secure nationwide emissions reductions that are crucial to mitigate climate impacts that are already being experienced in their states. "
[ Release | Motion to Intervene | 7 AGs: Connecticut; Iowa; Massachusetts; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington ]
January 19, 2017
Sought to Defend EPA Rule Protecting States From Upwind Smog Pollution
In D.C. District Court, attorneys general sought to intervene "in support of the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Update Rule, which requires power plants in 22 states to significantly reduce smog pollution that blows into downwind states...and threatens public health." The measure "has been challenged by fourteen energy corporations and upwind states seeking to overturn the rule."
[ Release | Motion to Intervene | 6 AGs: Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New York; Rhode Island; Vermont ]