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Democrat AGs Threaten Lawsuits Over Trump Climate Laws

| by Lauren Briggs

A group of Democratic attorneys general threatened dozens of lawsuits against President-elect Donald Trump if he follows the advice of Republicans to end President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan.

"We advocate that you reject misguided advice that the Clean Power Plan be discarded; advice that, if followed, would assuredly lead to more litigation," 14 attorneys general, headed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote in a Dec. 29 letter to Trump, according to the Washington Examiner.

The attorneys wrote that Trump cannot simply issue an executive order to block the plan and declare it unconstitutional, but that he must instead wait for a federal court to rule whether or not it is lawful, notes The Washington Post. Trump has said that he would repeal the Clean Power Plan within his first 100 days in office.

"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 attorneys general advised in the letter.

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The letter came in response to one written by two dozen Republican attorneys general, led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, on Dec. 14, urging Trump's team to undo Obama's climate change ordinances immediately upon taking office.

"An executive order on day one is critical," stated the letter, which was released on Dec. 15. "[It] should explain that it is the Administration's view that the Rule is unlawful and that EPA lacks authority to enforce it. The executive order is necessary to send an immediate and strong message to States and regulated entities that the Administration will not enforce the Rule."

The controversial Clean Power Plan, put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency, requires each state to reduce harmful emissions by one-third by 2030. Thirty states publicly oppose the plan. The Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently reviewing the constitutionality of the rule and could release a decision before Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration.

"We believe it is important to provide a longer-term legislative response to the Rule to ensure that similar or more extreme unlawful steps are not attempted by a future EPA," the Republicans' letter said. "Any such legislation should recognize the rights of States to develop their own energy strategies, so that energy can be generated in a cost effective and environmentally responsible manner."

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Sources: Washington Examiner (2), The Washington Post / Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons

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