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Post date: June 26 2012

A.G. Schneiderman Lauds Federal Court Affirmation Of Key National Regulations On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Schneiderman: Critical Victory In Addressing Real And Present Danger Posed By Climate Change

NEW YORK– New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today applauded a sweeping federal U.S. Court of Appeals decision upholding the Environmental Protection Agency's landmark regulations limiting the emission of greenhouse gas air pollutants from motor vehicles, power plants and other large industrial sources. These regulations included the Agency's "Tailoring Rule," which for the first time applies Clean Air Act permitting and pollution control requirements to the largest greenhouse gas polluters – including power plants, refineries, and cement kilns. These sources are responsible for approximately 70 percent of global warming pollution emissions from stationary sources.

Attorney General Schneiderman led a coalition of 12 states supporting EPA's Tailoring Rule, including arguing the case before the federal Appeals Court in February 2012.

"Today's decision is a critical victory in addressing the real and present danger posed by climate change, and stemming its harmful effects," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "The Court clearly rebuffed the obstructionist tactics of some of the nation’s largest polluters to impede action on climate change and paralyze our states in red tape. This decision will go a long way to ensuring essential reductions in climate change pollution and, thereby, vital protections for the health and welfare of New Yorkers."

Today's decision, issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, upheld EPA's groundbreaking regulations limiting the emissions of  greenhouse gas air pollutants that cause climate change. Specially, the Court affirmed:

  • EPA's finding in 2009 that large-scale greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare.
  • EPA's standards requiring greenhouse gas emission controls on model year 2012-2016 cars. Those standards are expected to result in the reduction of 960 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over the life of those vehicles.
  • EPA's "Tailoring Rule," a phase-in of the requirement that new and modified power plants, petroleum refineries, and other industrial  sources use "best available control technology" to control their emissions of greenhouse gas pollutants.     


EPA's phased approach went into effect in January 2012 and focuses on the largest sources first, allowing states that administer the program to avoid administrative gridlock while covering eighty-six percent of the greenhouse gas emissions from new and modified sources.

EPA's actions were challenged by industry, states, and other organizations. A separate coalition of states and environmental organizations intervened in support of the agency’s rules.

Attorney General Schneiderman has been a leader in the fight against climate change. Earlier this month, Attorney General Schneiderman won a decision in Albany County State Supreme Court dismissing a lawsuit that aimed to block New York State's participation in a multi-state effort to reduce emissions of pollution that contribute to climate change. Attorney General Schneiderman had vigorously defended the climate change mitigation effort, known as the "Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative" (RGGI), against a lawsuit backed by the out-of-state organization Americans for Prosperity that sought to force New York to withdraw from the Initiative.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Michael Myers and Morgan Costello and Deputy Bureau Chief Monica Wagner of the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau, under the supervision of Environmental Protection Bureau Chief Lemuel M. Srolovic and Solicitor General Barbara Underwood.