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A.G. Schneiderman, Nine Other Attorneys General And New York City Send Joint Letter Backing Federal Rules Limiting Climate Change Pollution From Power Plants

Coalition Letter To EPA Cites Critical Need For EPA Regulations To Protect The Public, The Environment, Grow Our Economies; New Rules Target Existing And New Power Plants, With Existing Power Plant Rule Cutting Pollution Equivalent To That Produced Annually By More Than 160 Million Cars

AG Schneiderman: My Office Will Join Other States In Defending These Necessary and Lawful Rules If They Are Challenged In Court

NEW YORK – Joined by a coalition of nine other attorneys general and the City of New York, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today wrote to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing “strong support” for final rules of the Obama Administration that – for the first time – limit emissions of climate change pollution from existing and new fossil fuel-burning power plants. The letter states that the coalition members fully anticipate defending the rules if they are challenged in court.

“The power plant rules issued today . . . mark the culmination of a decade-long effort by our states in advocating for cutting climate change pollution from power plants – the single largest U.S. source of these emissions,” the letter reads. “The power plant rules will result in dramatic reductions in current and future emissions of climate change pollution. We are in the process of reviewing the rules, but fully anticipate standing with EPA to defend these necessary emission standards if they are challenged in court.”

The finalization of the power plant rules today marks the culmination of a decade-long effort by states to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel burning power plants – the largest source of these emissions in the United States. The rules will control these emissions by setting limits on the amount of climate change pollution that can be released from new and existing plants. 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.

The coalition’s letter emphasizes that the EPA’s power plant rules are “firmly grounded in the law.” The federal Clean Air Act requires the agency to set limits on power plant emissions of climate change pollution. The agency adopted the power plant rules through a multi-year stakeholder process that draws heavily on strategies that states have used to cut power plant emissions, while benefiting their economies. For example, the nine-state Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), of which New York is a partner, has reduced regional carbon dioxide emissions by the electricity sector, by 40 percent from 2005 levels. The program’s first three years saw a $1.3 billion reduction in total energy bills in the nine states, added $1.6 billion to the regional economy and created an estimated 16,000 jobs.

The matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Michael J. Myers, Morgan Costello, Brian Lusignan and Deputy Bureau Chief Lisa M. Burianek, all of the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau. The Bureau Chief is Lemuel M. Srolovic. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice is Alvin Bragg.