Attorney General Becerra: EPA Administrator Must Be Recused From Attempt To Repeal Clean Power Plan
SACRAMENTO – Leading a coalition of 16 Attorneys General and municipalities, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today submitted a supplemental comment letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with additional evidence of due process violations, lack of fairness, and ethical lapses stemming from Administrator Scott Pruitt’s involvement in the EPA’s efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Attorney General Becerra and the coalition previously submitted a comment letter on this matter on January 9, 2018. The CPP is a strong, effective, and science-based policy that would significantly reduce carbon pollution from power plants, the country's largest stationary source of climate-damaging pollution.
“On January 9, 2018, we underscored that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt could not reasonably claim to have an open mind on the Clean Power Plan and provided over 500 pages of evidence. We now have even more information that supports our case,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The American people are entitled to an impartial decision-maker. EPA Administrator Pruitt simply cannot be that person. He must be recused from any involvement in the EPA's attempt to repeal the Clean Power Plan. This important environmental policy would reduce coal and gas-fired power plant emissions by 16 percent by 2030, while avoiding 3,500 premature deaths per year. We will continue doing what is necessary to protect our families’ health and our planet.”
The Constitution’s Due Process Clause and basic principles of administrative law, as articulated by the courts, entitle the public to a fair and open proceeding run by an impartial decision-maker. In their supplemental comment letter, the Attorneys General and municipalities again make clear that Administrator Pruitt cannot serve as a neutral and fair decision-maker on the EPA’s attempt to repeal the CPP. As Oklahoma Attorney General, he worked tirelessly through the courts, legislature, and the media to try to stop the EPA from moving forward with the CPP. His relentless attacks have continued as EPA Administrator. The Attorneys General and municipalities note that, since January 9, 2018, when they submitted their initial comment letter, Administrator Pruitt has continued to make comments in opposition to the CPP. For instance, he has said:
- The CPP “is demonstrative of a violation of rule of law”;
- Withdrawing the CPP “is absolutely an important thing”; and
- He is “getting rid of [the Clean Power Plan].”
Joining Attorney General Becerra in sending this comment letter were the states and municipalities of Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, the District of Columbia, the County of Broward (Florida), and the Cities of Boulder (Colorado), Chicago (Illinois), New York (New York), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), and South Miami (Florida).
Since taking office, Attorney General Becerra has taken swift and broad action to hold the Trump Administration’s EPA accountable. Among other actions, Attorney General Becerra has sued the EPA over its illegal repeal of a longstanding policy that requires major sources of hazardous air pollutants – such as petroleum refineries and chemical plants – to permanently take action to reduce their emissions; filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to provide thirty-two categories of documents related to Administrator Pruitt’s known conflicts of interest and any actions taken by EPA or the Administrator to comply with federal ethics laws; and recently secured a federal court ruling that will require the EPA to designate areas of the country that have unhealthy levels of smog in excess of federal Clean Air Act requirements.
A copy of the supplemental comment letter is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.