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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING FIGHTS AGAINST TRUMP EPA’S “UNLAWFUL” PROPOSED REPLACEMENT FOR CLEAN POWER PLAN

~ The EPA’s own analysis predicts that, compared to the Clean Power Plan, the so-called “Affordable Clean Energy” rule could result in over 60 million tons more climate change pollution and over 1,600 more premature deaths per year by 2030 ~

RICHMOND (November 1, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a coalition of 26 states, counties and cities in calling on the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to abandon its proposed replacement of the Clean Power Plan, the first nationwide limits on climate change pollution from existing fossil-fueled power plants – one of its largest sources.  In extensive comments filed with the EPA, the coalition charges that the proposed replacement rule is full of factual inaccuracies, analytical errors, and legal flaws and, accordingly, concludes that the rule – if adopted – would be unlawful. 

 

“The proposed Clean Power Plan replacement that the Trump Administration has put forward is riddled with inaccuracies, flawed legal arguments, and incorrect facts and it is clear that the EPA did not do the necessary research to come up with this plan,” said Attorney General Herring. “Climate change is a very real and urgent threat to the health, safety and economy of communities across the Commonwealth. Hastily replacing crucial policies like the Clean Power Plan with ill-conceived, dangerous plans will only hinder our ability to ease the effects of climate change and make the planet a safer, healthier place to live.”

 

In their comments, the coalition stresses the overwhelming scientific evidence of human-induced climate change and its increasing impacts, and the corresponding need for the EPA to perform its duty under the Clean Air Act to set nationwide limits on power plant emissions of climate change pollution.  The coalition argues that any contention by the Trump EPA that the federal Clean Air Act requires it to discard the Clean Power Plan in favor of this proposal reflects an unlawful interpretation of the Act. Further, the coalition argues that if the EPA’s position is that it simply prefers its replacement rule as a matter of policy, such a position would be indefensible in light of the serious harm the EPA acknowledges the proposed rule would cause to public health and the environment.

 

According to the EPA’s own analysis, the replacement proposal could actually increase emissions of climate change pollution and other harmful pollutants from power plants. The EPA estimates that up to 61 million more tons of carbon dioxide would be emitted from the power sector under the proposed rule in 2030, as compared to the Clean Power Plan. The EPA further acknowledges that the proposed replacement rule, as compared to the Clean Power Plan, would cause power plants to emit up to 39,000 more tons of nitrogen oxides and 53,000 more tons of sulfur dioxide in 2030.

 

The additional air pollution the EPA predicts will occur under its proposed replacement rule will mean that hundreds or thousands more people will die prematurely, suffer asthma attacks, and miss school and work. According to an EPA analysis, the replacement rule would result in up to an additional 1,630 premature deaths 120,000 asthma attacks, 140,000 missed school days, and 48,000 lost work days in 2030, compared to under the Clean Power Plan. The increases in deaths and illnesses that the EPA itself predicts will occur as a result of its replacement rule will fall disproportionately on “environmental justice communities,” low-income communities and communities of color already overburdened by pollution.

 

The Clean Power Plan is the culmination of a decade-long effort by partnering 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 Clean Power Plan, along with the companion rule applicable to new, modified, and reconstructed power plants, would control these emissions by setting limits on the amount of climate change pollution that power plants can emit. The Clean Power Plan would eliminate as much climate change pollution as is emitted by more than 160 million cars a year – or 70 percent of the nation’s passenger cars. 

 

The coalition of states, counties and cities includes the attorneys general of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (by and through its Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, and the cities of Boulder (CO), Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and South Miami (FL), and Broward County (FL).

 

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