RICHMOND (January 19, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has successfully blocked the Trump Administration’s “Dirty Power” rule that violated the Clean Air Act; propped up dirty, expensive coal power; and undercut clean, renewable, and affordable energy. In August 2019, Attorney General Herring joined a coalition of 22 states and seven local governments in suing the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the “Dirty Power” rule. Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Trump Administration’s “Dirty Rule” violated federal laws.
“Today’s ruling is an important win for climate change efforts and protecting our environment,” said Attorney General Herring. “During his time in office, President Trump has made it no secret that combating climate change in our country was not a priority for him and his ‘Dirty Power’ rule not only violated the Clean Power Plan but would have moved the country away from focusing on clean, renewable energy sources. Virginia knows all too well the devastating effects climate change and sea level rise can have on communities, especially in Hampton Roads, and I will continue to do all I can to protect measures that cut down on pollution and help reverse climate change in our country.”
The “Dirty Power” rule was the Trump Administration’s attempt to replace the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever nationwide limits on existing fossil-fueled power plants, one of the largest sources of climate change pollution. This rule would have rolled back the Clean Power Plan limits and would have had virtually no impact on emissions from these kinds of power plants, prolonging the nation’s reliance on polluting, expensive coal power plants, and obstructing progress of states toward clean, renewable, and affordable electricity generation.
Among the harms that Virginia specifically faces from increasing climate change are:
- Norfolk has experienced the equivalent of 18.2 inches of relative sea level rise in the past 100 years, compared with the global average of 7-8 inches since 1890
- Ordinary rain events now cause flooding in the streets of Norfolk, including large connector streets going underwater.
- Norfolk naval base, the largest navy base in the world, is currently replacing 14 piers due to sea level rise, at a cost of $35-40 million per pier.
- According to Old Dominion University’s Center for Sea Level Rise, the city of Norfolk alone will need at least $1 billion in the coming decades to replace current infrastructure and keep water out of city homes and businesses.
- According to a recent study by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, costs from three feet of sea-level rise in the Hampton Roads region are expected to range between $12 billion and $87 billion.
Under the Trump Administration, the EPA has attempted to roll back the Clean Car Rule, roll back important protections from harmful greenhouse gas emissions, roll back the Clean Power Plan, and block state-level action to reduce air pollution from cars.
Joining Attorney General Herring in filing this lawsuit were the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, and the chief legal officers of Boulder, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and South Miami.