By: Timothy Cama
A group of Democratic state attorneys general is warning President-elect Donald Trump against repealing the Clean Power Plan, saying it would lead to more lawsuits.
The group, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) and representing 14 states and five localities, wrote Thursday that it is in Trump’s best interest to preserve Obama’s climate change rule for power plants and continue defending it in federal court.
They stopped short of threatening to sue Trump if he tries to unwind the rule, but guaranteed him that someone would sue.
“We advocate that you reject misguided advice that the Clean Power Plan be discarded; advice that, if followed, would assuredly lead to more litigation,” they wrote.
“Instead, we urge you to support the defense of this critically-important rule and the implementation of its carefully constructed strategies to reduce emissions from the nation’s largest sources.”
The letter came in part as a response to advice from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), the leading litigator fighting the Clean Power Plan.
Morrisey and other Republican state attorneys general told Trump earlier this month that he should issue an order on his first day in office instructing the EPA to stop working to enforce the rule, and then take other long-term steps to fully repeal it and make sure a future president can’t reinstate it or a similar regulation.
Repealing the rule was one of Trump’s main energy policy promises on the campaign trail. He has nominated Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general and another leading challenger of the Clean Power Plan, to head the EPA.
But Schneiderman and other Democrats said repeal would be a bad idea.
“Following such a course would be ill-conceived and contrary to law,” they wrote. Among the Democrats’ arguments are that the legality of the rule has not been settled, an executive order cannot repeal a regulation and Trump ought to consult with stakeholders about the impact of repeal first.
Most in the coalition are participating in the current litigation to defend the Obama administration, and many have sued previous administrations to force stronger environmental protections.