Independent Study Finds NY State AG Tops Nation In Environmental Protection

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James’ office is the top defender of environmental protections against actions by the Trump Administration in a report released today by New York University’s School of Law State Energy and Environmental Impact Center.

“Attorneys general are at the forefront of defending people’s right to clean air, clean water, and a sustainable environment,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “I am so proud of my office’s work to hold the Trump Administration responsible for fulfilling its duty to the environment, to combat climate change, and support the wellness of people. I thank the NYU Impact Center for shining a light on how attorneys general are leading the fight on these critical issues, and I look forward to continuing to use the powers of our office to hold power to account, to defend the environment, and protect the health of New Yorkers.”

Since 2017, no other state attorney general office has taken more legal action against federal agencies regarding issues related to the environment than the Office of the New York Attorney General. In total, New York has taken 129 legal actions against the Trump Administration in the areas of safety and toxins, public lands and wildlife, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean air, clean water, and climate change.

Notably, over the past year, Attorney General James initiated several key challenges related to the environment and health of New Yorkers including, but not limited to:

  • Fighting against the Trump Administration’s “Dirty Power Rule.” Leading a coalition of 22 states and 7 local governments, Attorney General James filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) – aka “Dirty Power” – rule. The ACE rule replaced the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever nationwide limit on one of the largest sources of climate change pollution – existing fossil-fueled power plants. The EPA’s rule rolls-back these limits and will have virtually no impact on these emissions, prolonging the nation’s reliance on polluting, expensive coal power plants and obstructing progress of states toward clean, renewable, and affordable electricity generation.
  • Fighting to force the Trump Administration to comply with the Clean Air Act. Attorney General James led a coalition of six states and the City of New York in filing a lawsuit aimed at forcing the Trump Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to comply with federal law by requiring further controls on ground-level ozone pollution (commonly known as smog) that blows into New York and other states. In October 2019, U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit’s decision in New York et al. v. EPA, sustained New York’s challenge to a Trump-era EPA rule that would have gutted standards regulating ozone emissions.
  • Fighting to ensure that the Trump Administration holds big polluters accountable for cleaning up toxic messes. Attorney General James, in partnership with Governor Andrew Cuomo, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating federal law when it issued a “Certificate of Completion” to General Electric Company for its removal of polychlorinated biphenyls from the Hudson River. Monitoring data demonstrates that fish from the Hudson River remain too toxic for human consumption.

“While Washington is asleep at the wheel, New York continues to lead the way in protecting our planet,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “I am proud to work with NYS Attorney General Letitia James to defend our precious environment from actions taken by this administration. We cannot stand ideally by as they continue to role back environmental protections  – we must stand up and fight."

"As environmental and public health protections we've worked decades to put in place are systematically dismantled at the federal level,  Attorney General Letitia James has consistently been out front leading coalitions of state attorneys general to collectively defend the American people and our environment against these affronts,” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee. “We are fortunate to have in Attorney General James a strong voice for our state and beyond as the national government abdicates its responsibility to protect our environmental and public health."

Attorney General James’ work in opposition to the Trump Administration’s rollback of federal environmental and public health protections is being handled by attorneys, scientists, and policy staff from across her office, and led by Senior Counsel for Air Pollution and Climate Change Litigation Michael J. Myers and Bureau Chief Lemuel Srolovic of the Environmental Protection Bureau, and Matthew Colangelo of the Federal Initiatives Office.