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States ask to defend Obama’s climate rule in court

States ask to defend Obama’s climate rule in court
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Eighteen liberal states are asking to join in federal litigation to help the Obama administration defend its climate change regulation for power plants.

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The states, led by New York, plan to argue to federal judges that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is both allowed and obligated to set limits on carbon dioxide pollution that comes from power plants.

They will be opposing 26 states, led by West Virginia, that filed lawsuits challenging the rule in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, along with dozens of corporations and industry groups.

“The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is a critical step forward in responding to the threat of climate change,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement Wednesday, the day the states filed their petition to intervene in the litigation.

“The rule is firmly grounded in science and the law,” he said. “The rule incorporates successful strategies New York and other states have used to cut climate change pollution from power plants while maintaining electricity reliability, holding the line on utility bills, and growing our economies. We are committed to aggressively defending the Clean Power Plan to ensure progress is made in confronting climate change.”

The attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington joined the petition, along with Washington, D.C.; New York City; Boulder, Colo.; Chicago; Philadelphia; and South Miami and Broward County, Fla.

Vermont and Hawaii do not have to reduce emissions under the regulation.

The states and cities wrote in their court petition that they “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.”

They also plan to argue in the court against motions from EPA opponents to obtain a court stay for the rule, which would halt its implementation while it is litigated.

Forty-four states have now taken sides in the litigation surround the EPA’s rule.