Green groups move to help EPA defend climate rule

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Nine environmental and health groups are asking a federal court to let them help the Obama administration defend its climate change regulation for power plants.

The groups, led by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), petitioned the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Tuesday to be designated as interveners in the lawsuits filed by conservative states, and energy and business interests against the rule.

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“The organizations are committed to protecting their members and others from the impacts of dangerous air pollution from existing power plants, including climate change and other harms to public health and welfare,” the groups wrote in a statement to the court.

“The Clean Power Plan also will reduce existing power plants’ emissions of smog- and soot-forming pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and fine particles,” they continued. “These pollution reductions will lower the rates of asthma attacks, respiratory disease, heart attacks, and premature death that occur each year as a result of exposure to such pollutants.”

A coalition of 24 states, led by West Virginia, sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Friday, seeking to overturn the agency’s carbon limits for power plants, the main pillar of President Obama’s climate change agenda.

Two more states, energy interests, business groups, unions and others filed additional lawsuits against the rule, bringing the total number of cases against it to 21 as of Monday. The court quickly consolidated the cases into one.

Some of the groups in Tuesday’s motion frequently join court cases to defend EPA rules or other environmental measures.

A coalition of liberal states and cities, led by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, is planning to petition to intervene on the EPA’s behalf.