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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
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October 9, 2019


Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with a coalition of 30 states and cities, filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the federal government in order to defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to establish meaningful emission limits on greenhouse gases from power plants and other industrial sources. The intervention pushes back against industry challenges to the EPA’s authority to limit these emissions under the Clean Air Act.

“The people of Illinois and around the country cannot afford the impact of unchecked climate change,” Raoul said. “The EPA has the authority – and the responsibility – to set meaningful limits on greenhouse gas emissions. I am committed to protecting this authority as well as ensuring that the policies put in place acknowledge the science and address the devastating effects of climate change.”

The motion to intervene, filed in cases brought against the EPA by several coal mining companies and other industry interests, is separate and distinct from the action Raoul and the coalition took to initiate its ongoing multistate lawsuit against the EPA over its roll-back of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever nationwide limits on one of the largest sources of climate change pollution – existing fossil-fueled power plants. The EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule will have virtually no impact on these emissions, prolonging the nation’s reliance on polluting, expensive coal power plants and obstructing the progress of states toward clean, renewable, and affordable electricity generation.

While Raoul and the coalition assert that the ACE rule change is unlawful and should be prevented from being implemented, the states do not contest that the EPA has the authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. In fact, they challenge that it has the affirmative obligation to ensure that compliance with the Clean Air Act be based on the emissions reductions achievable through the “best system” of emission reduction.

The Attorney General’s office has long advocated for meaningful limits on carbon pollution from fossil-fueled power plants. The federal government’s failure to limit greenhouse gas emissions will increase the frequent and life threatening extreme weather events resulting from climate change that have already caused dire harms in Illinois. Residents and communities throughout Illinois are continuing to recover from spring storms and record flood levels that impacted 36 counties. Extreme weather has also prevented farmers from planting crops on time, reduced crop yield, and harmed crop quality, all of which negatively impacts Illinois’ economy.

Joining Raoul in today’s motion to intervene are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. In addition, Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and South Miami joined the motion.


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