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Twenty AGs Demand EPA Withdraw Proposal to Weaken Emissions Standards for New Coal-Fired Power Plants

Multi-state comments warn EPA’s proposal violates Clean Air Act obligations to control GHG emissions, reversal on best system of emission reduction is unsupported by agency’s own evidence.


March 19, 2019
Contact: stateimpactcenter@nyu.edu

Washington, D.C. — A coalition of 20 state attorneys general led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra submitted comments yesterday demanding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdraw its proposal to roll back emissions standards for new and reconstructed coal-fired power plants, which would permit new plants to emit up to 35% more CO2 pollution than the current standard allows.

In their comments, the AGs state that the proposal is arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the EPA’s obligations under the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and runs counter to the agency’s evidence of the best achievable system of emission reduction. The EPA’s proposal overstates the costs of compliance with current emissions standards, and ignores the environmental harms that would result if the proposal is finalized.

“The scientific community has given us a clear message to reduce emissions or face dire consequences. Yet, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler buries his head in the sand when confronted with this irrefutable scientific evidence,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Backsliding on emission standards for dirty power plants threatens progress when it is most vital in our fight to curb global warming... EPA must stop ignoring the facts and science and withdraw this reckless proposal.”

“The EPA is arbitrarily disregarding its findings from just three years ago, which fits its recent pattern of cutting corners in the regulatory process and failing to account for benefits to the environment and human health,” said David J. Hayes, Executive Director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center. “As the AGs point out, the Supreme Court has identified this kind of behavior as a telltale sign of arbitrary and capricious rulemaking, which will not survive legal scrutiny.”

In addition to California, the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C. also joined the multi-state coalition.

The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center is a non-partisan Center at the NYU School of Law that is dedicated to working with state attorneys general to protect and advance clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. It was launched in August 2017 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. For more information, visit our website.