19 state AGs pledge to enforce pact

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Democratic attorneys general promised today to keep fighting climate change in the wake of President Trump’s announced exit from the Paris Agreement.

Attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia joined governors, mayors and business leaders who pledged yesterday to stick with the pact aimed at curbing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. “We are still in” for Paris goals, they declared (E&E News PM, June 5).

“I stand ready to vigorously enforce the law to curb climate change and protect our air, land, and water — because the future of our people and our planet are at stake,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) said in a statement.

Schneiderman, who is leading a coalition of states and localities in defending the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan in court, also vowed to stand his ground against U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

“It’s important to note: President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement doesn’t change the EPA’s legal obligation to limit carbon pollution from its largest source: fossil-fueled power plants,” Schneiderman said. “I’ll continue to fight in court to ensure that the EPA fulfills its legal responsibility to protect New Yorkers’ health and environment, no matter President Trump’s retrograde policies.”

Pruitt and other foes of the EPA climate rule had advised Trump to pull out of the Paris Agreement to safeguard his energy agenda.

As Trump deliberated, Republican attorneys general from 10 states wrote him a letter warning the agreement’s nonbinding nature “does not mean there are no consequences to remaining in or withdrawing from the agreement.” As long as the U.S. remained a party to the agreement, they wrote, “there is a risk that some individual or organization will attempt to enforce its terms.”

The “We Are Still In” declaration was also signed by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

Chief legal officers in blue states have already signaled a willingness to play an aggressive role in environmental enforcement in the Trump years (Greenwire, March 1).