Local Governments Across the Country File Legal Brief Challenging EPA’s Failure to Address Power Plant Pollution

Today, the Sabin Center filed an amicus brief on behalf of local governments in support of state and environmental petitioners in American Lung Association v. EPA, the lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan and the dangerously weak replacement rule.

The Clean Power Plan was the Obama Administration’s rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants, the nation’s largest stationary source of climate pollution. The rule was expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 30% by 2030. In June 2019 the EPA repealed the Clean Power Plan and replaced it with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, which is projected achieve a 0.7% reduction in carbon dioxide by 2030, but may not decrease emissions at all.

The local government amicus brief illustrates the climate impacts that cities are already experiencing and localities’ efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change. Members of the local government coalition warn that by failing to take climate change seriously today, EPA will cause cities to shoulder greater adaptation costs over the coming decades and centuries. The brief emphasizes that EPA has abdicated its duty under the Clean Air Act to meaningfully address carbon dioxide pollution and grapple with the grave threats of climate change. The local government coalition also highlights the EPA’s unlawful failure to address environmental injustice, including the fact that communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change and power plant pollution.

Signatories to the brief include the U.S. Conference of Mayors; the National League of Cities; Albuquerque, NM; Asheville, NC; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Boulder County, CO; Chapel Hill, NC; Coral Gables, FL; Cutler Bay, FL; Glen Rock, NJ; Harris County, TX; Houston, TX; Las Cruces, NM; Minneapolis, MN; New Orleans, LA; Pittsburgh, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Saint Paul, MN; Salt Lake City, UT; Santa Fe, NM; and the Mayors of Durham, NC; and Detroit, MI. This coalition of local governments is representative of the diverse communities affected by the rollback of greenhouse gas regulations, and the participating cities, towns, counties, and mayors represent more than 12 million people located across the United States.

Read the brief here and the press release here.

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