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Cities move to defend Obama power plant rules

Cities move to defend Obama power plant rules
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Cities and local government groups stepped in Tuesday in an effort to protect key Obama administration climate rules from state and industry lawsuits. 

Fourteen cities joined the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in an amicus brief supporting new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules governing carbon emissions at power plants.

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The cities and groups said they back the Clean Power Plan as a way to address climate change, an issue they cite as one already affecting populaces around the country. 

“Prompted by lived experience and by the prospect of future impacts, [cities] have made efforts both to adapt to their changing climatic circumstances and to slow or eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions,” the brief, filed in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, said. 

“Because the Clean Power Plan would further these goals and efforts, and would do so on a nationwide basis, the members of the Local Government Coalition have a uniquely well-informed view of the importance of the Clean Power Plan.”

The cities join litigation that has made either Clean Power Plan opponents or supporters out of most states around the country. 

More than two dozen states — led by West Virginia and Texas — are suing over the plan, which the Obama administration published in October. Eighteen states, led by New York, have intervened in support of the new rule, which is the cornerstone of Obama's climate agenda. 

Cities joining today’s filing include Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, Baltimore and Minneapolis. In statements, mayors said they are best able to defend the plan because they are “on the front line” of climate change adaptation. 

“The Clean Power Plan will be integral in protecting communities from the most extreme climate impacts and furthering innovation in response to climate change,” said Michael Burger, the author of the motion and executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.