AG Madigan Calls on U.S. Epa to Withdraw Plans to Gut Clean Power and Clean Car Rules

Attorney General Lisa Madigan, climate change pollution
IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan (Source: illinoisattorneygeneral.gov)

Madigan, Part of 29-Member Coalition, Cites Federal National Climate Assessment that Found Impacts of Climate Change Pollution “Increasingly Threaten Health & Well-Being of American People”

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Citing the findings of the recently released “Fourth National Climate Assessment,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan – part of a coalition of 29 states, counties, and cities – called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately withdraw its proposals to roll back rules limiting emissions of climate change pollution from power plants and cars.

In a letter delivered to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler today, Madigan and the coalition state that the increases in climate change pollution resulting from these rollbacks will worsen the numerous harms detailed in the Assessment – the federal government’s authoritative analysis of climate science and the impacts of climate change on the U.S. The letter, which was signed by 20 states and 9 local governments, emphasizes that, in detailing the many, burgeoning harms of climate change, “the Assessment makes clear that we need to act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The Fourth National Climate Assessment makes clear the need for immediate and aggressive cuts in climate change pollution, yet the EPA has chosen to ignore proven science and facts,” Madigan said. “I stand with my colleagues in calling on the EPA to withdraw its harmful proposals.”

Conservatively, based on the U.S. EPA’s own figures, the proposed rollback of the Clean Car Standards would increase emissions of climate change pollution by 540 million metric tons from model year 2022-2025 vehicles alone, and the Clean Power Plan’s planned rollback would cause emission increases of up to 55 million metric tons in 2030. Together, these increases in climate change pollution for those years alone would equal the estimated annual emissions of 127 million gasoline-powered cars or 147 coal-burning power plants.

The coalition’s letter references the grave concerns voiced by the National Climate Assessmentover climate change’s current and the projected risks to health, environment, economy and national security. These include “[i]mpacts from climate change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable.”

In reinforcing the need for immediate action to reduce climate change pollution, the letter quotes the Assessment’s caution that “[i]n the absence of significant global mitigation action and regional adaptation efforts, rising temperatures, sea level rise, and changes in extreme events are expected to increasingly disrupt and damage critical infrastructure and property, labor productivity, and the vitality of our communities.” Further, the letter quotes the Assessment’s conclusion that that “[b]y the end of this century, thousands of American lives could be saved and hundreds of billions of dollars in health-related economic benefits gained each year under a pathway of lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

In today’s letter, Madigan and the coalition emphasize that the Assessment represents the work of more than 300 governmental and non-governmental experts, was externally peer-reviewed by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and underwent several rounds of technical and policy review by the thirteen federal member agencies of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

In November, Madigan, as part of a coalition of 26 states, counties, and cities urged the Trump 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 charged that the proposed replacement rule is replete with factual inaccuracies, analytical errors, and legal flaws and, accordingly, concludes that the rule – if adopted – would be unlawful.

In October, Madigan, as part of a coalition of 21 attorneys general, states, state agencies and cities demanded that the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) withdraw their proposal to roll back national Clean Car Standards. In comments submitted to EPA and NHTSA, Madigan and the coalition highlighted the consumer, climate and public health benefits of the current standards, was well as the rollback proposal’s numerous flaws, its use of faulty assumptions, incorrect modeling, selective data, and its misunderstandings of consumer behavior.

Joining Madigan in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (by and through its Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the County Attorney of Broward (FL), and the City Attorneys/Corporation Counsels of Boulder (CO), Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland (CA), Philadelphia, San Francisco, and South Miami.

This is a December 11, 2018 release from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.