LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today released the following statement after the California Department of Justice joined 17 states, the District of Columbia, and several major cities to intervene in lawsuits filed in opposition to President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and New Source Standards. The Clean Power Plan and New Source Standards, issued pursuant to the Clean Air Act, are the first-ever national standards that address greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
“President Obama’s plan to limit harmful emissions from power plants is necessary to preserve our natural resources and protect public health,” said Attorney General Harris. “I will vigorously defend these rules on behalf of future generations of Californians.”
The Clean Power Plan requires existing fossil-fueled power plants, the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation, to cut their emissions starting in 2022 and will reduce emissions from the power sector to thirty-two percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The New Source Standards, which take immediate effect, limit emissions from new, modified and reconstructed power plants.
“In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, reckless politicians and polluters want to gut the president’s clean air plans,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. “Today, California and its partners stand together in fighting these pernicious and dangerous lawsuits.”
The finalization of the Clean Power Plan and New Source Standards marks the culmination of a decade-long effort by states and cities to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel burning power plants under the Clean Air Act. The rule for existing plants is expected to eliminate as much climate change pollution as is emitted by more than 160 million cars a year – or 70% of the nation’s passenger cars.
Since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final versions of the rules on October 23, 2015, lawsuits to challenge the rules have been filed by West Virginia, North Dakota coal industry associations, and others. California is joining with 17 other states and the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boulder, and Broward County (FL) to intervene on the side of EPA to defend the Clean Power Plan. In addition, California is joining with 15 other states and two major cities to intervene in and defend EPA in cases challenging the New Source Standards.
Attorney General Harris has aggressively fought to protect AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and is currently defending challenges to California’s Cap-and-Trade auctions and its precedent-setting Low Carbon Fuels Standard. In 2014 and earlier this year, when West Virginia and coal producers filed legal challenges during the proposal stage of EPA’s rulemaking, Attorney General Harris and a coalition of states intervened to defend EPA. The D.C. Circuit dismissed all those challenges as premature.
A copy of the motion to intervene is attached to the online version of this news release at oag.ca.gov/news.