Statement: AG Schneiderman Lauds Supreme Court’s Backing of Clean Air Act Authority to Limit Climate Change Pollution from Major Sources

Ruling allows EPA and states to limit emissions of climate change pollution by major stationary sources under the federal Clean Air Act.

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New York, NY - June 23, 2014 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding a key authority of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states to limit emissions of climate change pollution by major stationary sources under the federal Clean Air Act:  
“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court further solidified the authority provided by the federal Clean Air Act to address the mounting dangers posed by runaway climate change. In its decision today, the high court agreed that a key permitting program applies to limit emissions of climate change pollution from power plants, refineries, and other large industrial facilities. Today’s decision affirmed requirements that large sources control climate change pollution as well as other pollutants. This is the latest in a line of decisions upholding Clean Air Act authority to address climate change pollution.”      
In today’s decision, the Supreme Court ruled that EPA reasonably interpreted the Clean Air Act to require large industrial facilities to limit their emissions of climate change pollution if they are also required to obtain permits due to their emissions of certain other dangerous air pollutants. The Court rejected arguments from industry and other states that these limits on climate change pollution are unworkable.  At the same time, the Court held that EPA could not extend permitting requirements to sources that emit only climate change pollution and not other dangerous pollutants.
Attorney General Schneiderman led a coalition of 15 States and New York City in filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case.  The brief argued that EPA’s interpretation was reasonable and demonstrated that the States’ recent experience with permitting for climate change pollution has proven to be workable and sensible. 
In addition to New York, the states joining in the filing with the Supreme Court were California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the City of New York. 
The industrial facilities at issue in this case are new plants, including power plants, refineries and cement kilns, and plants undergoing major modification that increase emissions. 
This matter was handled by Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, Deputy Solicitor General Steven C. Wu, and Assistant Solicitor General Bethany A. Davis Noll.  From the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau, led by Bureau Chief Lemuel M. Srolovic and Deputy Bureau Chief Monica Wagner, Assistant Attorneys General Michael Myers and Morgan Costello worked on this matter.
For further background on this issue click here.