Biden supports federal effort to protect the environment by restricting power plant emissions

Date Posted: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Categories:  Civil Department of Justice DOJ Press Releases

Power plants that burn fossil fuels are significant source of greenhouse gases that cause climate change


Wilmington – Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and his colleagues in 10 states and two cities filed a court action today to support the federal government’s efforts to set emissions standards for fossil-fuel power plants.


In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency settled a lawsuit filed by Delaware and other states over its refusal to regulate greenhouse gasses emitted by power plants. The settlement required the EPA to restrict the amount of greenhouse gasses that new and existing power plants could emit, but states from coal-producing regions have since filed a court challenge to that agreement.


The motion that Biden and the coalition of Attorneys General filed today in the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asks that they be allowed to intervene in support of the EPA in the challenge filed by states from coal-producing regions.  


Power plants fueled by coal, oil and natural gas are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions that pollute the air and damage the environment by contributing to climate change.


“Delaware is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” Biden said. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical to protecting our environment. The Environmental Protection Agency needs to take action to guarantee that every state has the same rules governing harmful greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.”


The coalition of Attorneys General supporting the EPA was led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and includes, in addition to Attorney General Biden, the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York. 


The EPA has already begun the process of drafting the emissions rules called for in the 2010 settlement with Delaware and other states. In January, the EPA released proposed rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, and in June released rules to limit emissions from existing plants. According to EPA estimates, limiting the emissions of harmful greenhouse gases will generate between $55 billion to $93 billion in public health and climate benefits would result from implementing the power plant rules by 2030.


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