Kudos go out today to New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for stepping up to defend the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from the nation's power plants. This morning, Schneiderman announced that his office is leading an effort with 18 state attorneys general to defend the Clean Power Plan from an array of legal challenges, some filed by other state attorneys general, that seek to block this life-saving program in court. "Climate change represents an unprecedented threat to the environment, public health, and our economy," Schneiderman said. "We no longer can afford to respond to this threat with denials or obstruction." New York City's Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter has also joined this important legal defense effort, along with six other major cities and counties across the country. "State and Municipal Intervenors have a compelling interest in defending the Clean Power Plan as a means to achieve their goal of preventing and mitigating climate change harms in their states and municipalities," these law experts wrote in legal papers filed today.
NRDC welcomes these state Clean Power Plan defense efforts and believes that legal challenges to the CPP will fail: The Supreme Court has already found that the EPA has the authority to curb power plant carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.
Schneiderman's and New York City's actions today are in keeping with the state's and the city's long history of climate leadership. Attorney General Schneiderman has repeatedly used his office's broad legal powers to fight against climate change, leading a seven-state coalition that pushed the EPA to create standards to cut methane emissions in oil and gas drilling, among other efforts. Mayor de Blasio, too, has set out a forward-looking vision for sustainability, in his OneNYC plan; New York City has announced it will get 100 percent of its municipal electricity from renewable sources. New York State recently adopted ambitious energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate goals in its State Energy Plan, and initiated the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation's first program to cut global warming pollution from fossil-fuel-burning power plants. Over the last six years in New York, RGGI has created more than 9,000 years-worth of full-time work, added more than $600 million to the state's economy, will save New Yorkers almost $2 billion on energy, and has helped cut the region's power plant emissions by a sizable 35 percent.
Across our state and in New York City's five boroughs, these clean energy efforts are creating good-paying jobs, saving consumers significant money on energy, improving public health and driving business innovation, while helping safeguard the climate on which we all depend.
By intervening on behalf of the Clean Power Plan, elected officials like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are putting the interests of New Yorkers, and all Americans, first.