3 Times We Stood Up To The Trump Administration To Protect The Planet — and Won

This Earth Day, Washington might not be fighting for clean air and clean water — but New York is.

As New York’s Attorney General, it’s my job to protect New Yorkers. The Trump administration has been keeping us busy, leveling an unprecedented assault on our nation’s core public health and environmental protections. In response, state attorneys general across the country have been taking the Trump administration to court to protect our air and our water and force the federal government to take action on climate change. And here’s the good news: we are winning. Here’s a look at a few of our biggest victories over the last year.

Protecting Our Air From Smog

What the Trump administration tried to do: Under Scott Pruitt, the EPA illegally stalled the designation of areas impacted by unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone (known as smog) — vital to protecting New Yorkers and other Americans from dangerous pollution. The designations play a key role under the Clean Air Act in addressing smog’s serious threat to public health, triggering requirements for state-specific plans and deadlines to reduce pollution in these areas. As many as 2 in 3 New Yorkers are breathing air with unhealthy levels of smog.

What we did: In 2017, leading a coalition of 16 state Attorneys General, I filed a lawsuit against the EPA and Administrator Pruitt, challenging their illegal delay of these smog designations as violating the requirements of the Clean Air Act, and as arbitrary and capricious.

On March 12, 2018, we secured a federal court order requiring the EPA to comply with the Clean Air Act’s requirement and issue nearly all the final designations by April 30, 2018.

Limiting Methane Pollution

What the Trump administration tried to do: Under Scott Pruitt, the EPA unlawfully attempted to halt the regulation of leaks of methane — the most potent of greenhouse gases —and other harmful air pollutants from new sources in the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas is the single largest industrial source of methane. The EPA tried to delay a rule that would prevent thousands of tons of emissions of the methane, smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and hazardous air pollutants, including benzene and formaldehyde in facilities constructed after September 2015.

What we did: My office joined a coalition of 14 AGs in support of a group of environmental organizations seeking to immediately stop the EPA’s illegal delay. In July 2017, the D.C. Circuit struck down the 90-day stay in a significant victory for our coalition and our environment.

Fighting For Energy Efficiency

What the Trump administration tried to do: In violation of the law and common sense, the Department of Energy refused to implement cost-saving, pollution-cutting energy efficiency standards for consumer products that include ceiling fans, walk-in coolers, portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, air compressors, and commercial packaged boilers. Over a 30-year period, these standards are estimated to save consumers and businesses $23.8 billion — and reduce emissions of 292 million tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, 734 thousand tons of the pollution that creates soot and smog, 1.2 million tons of the potent climate change pollutant methane, and over 1,000 pounds of highly-toxic mercury.

What we did: Leading coalitions of state AGs, I took the Trump administration to court. We forced the Department of Energy to reverse course on some of the standards, and we won a federal ruling requiring the Department of Energy to stop their illegal delay of others — meaning they’ll go into effect.

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