Court Rules in Favor of California and Denies Trump Administration Claims that California’s Coordination with Quebec in Cutting Climate Pollution is Unconstitutional

Major legal victory for protection of public health and environment for all Californians

Sacramento – Today, a federal district court issued an order granting California’s motion for summary judgment and rejecting the U.S. motion on two constitutional claims that California’s coordination with Quebec to reduce climate pollution is unlawful. The order by Judge William B. Shubb in the Eastern District of California was issued after a multi-hour hearing in Sacramento on Monday, March 9th. Two Constitutional claims remain outstanding and will be briefed and argued at a future date.

Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council are both parties to the case – defending California’s life-saving climate protections.

The hearing on March 9th considered two legal claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice arguing that California’s work with Quebec is either a treaty that must be adopted by Congress or a “compact” that must be approved by Congress. EDF and the NRDC joined the California Attorney General’s office to vigorously oppose these claims in our opposition brief filed in February and in presenting oral argument at Monday’s hearing. Today’s important judicial ruling is available here.

Erica Morehouse, Senior Attorney for U.S. Climate at EDF, said:

“This is a tremendous legal victory for the protection of human health and the environment for all Californians. It is unconscionable that the Trump administration is actively litigating to tear down California’s life-saving climate and health protections. California faces the clear and present danger of climate change, and is innovating and leading with solutions that protect lives, create jobs and strengthen its economy.

“As the legal fight to protect California’s coordination with Quebec to reduce climate pollution moves on, Environmental Defense Fund will continue to stand up for Californians’ leadership in protecting human health and the environment from harmful pollution.”

David Pettit, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said:

“The Trump Administration continues to have its shaky legal positions rejected in court. The judge clearly saw this as a lawsuit filed in anger and not based on a valid legal theory."



Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF VoicesTwitter and Facebook.

Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​


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