Attorney General Becerra Petitions to Intervene in Lawsuit Defending EPA's Legal Authority to Limit Emissions from Power Plants

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, as part of a coalition including 23 attorneys general, California Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Air Resources Board, and six local governments, filed a petition to intervene in lawsuits filed by coal companies and business interests that challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The coalition filed the motion to intervene in three lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in an attempt to defend the EPA’s legal authority to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from power plants under section 111 of the Clean Air Act. While the coalition continues its separate, ongoing lawsuit challenging both the EPA’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan and its ineffective replacement rule, this filing aims to defend EPA’s underlying authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

“The Trump EPA goes into full retreat when it comes to tackling air pollution and climate change. Corporate polluters think they can capitalize on this dereliction to redefine the authority of future administrations to regulate emissions from power plants,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It’s critical that we intervene in this case to make sure there is someone who will genuinely fight to preserve the EPA’s Clean Air Act authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Someday, when EPA returns to its mission of environmental protection, it will want to dust off its legal tools to do its job.”

Precluding EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants will hamper state and federal efforts to control harmful climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. California and the coalition have taken significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and supported federal regulations that reinforce those efforts. In 2015, California and many other members of the coalition intervened to defend the Clean Power Plan itself against many of the same arguments presented in the lawsuits by coal companies and business interests.

Joining Attorney General Becerra in the motion to intervene – filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and led by the Attorney General of New York – are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia; and the cities of Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and South Miami. 

A copy of the motion to intervene can be found here.


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