Democratic AGs Step in to Support EPA’s Air Quality Rule Amid Republican Opposition

  • A coalition of 17 Democratic AGs and the City of New York, led by California AG Rob Bonta, has intervened to defend the EPA’s final rule entitled, “Reconsideration of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter”(Final Rule) against a lawsuit from 24 Republican AGs in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
  • In their motion to intervene, the Democratic AGs claim to hold legally protected interests at risk if the court were to overturn the Final Rule, which reduces the upper limit on the levels of fine particulate matter (PM) in the air. The AGs maintain that they have an interest in protecting the health of their residents and the integrity of their states’ ecosystems from the harmful effects of higher levels of PM. Additionally, the AGs contend that the coalition’s interests are not adequately represented by the EPA or other parties, claiming that the Final Rule imposes specific obligations on states—such as mandating the development of State Implementation Plans to uphold the new standard—that the EPA does not share.
  • As previously reported, the challenge to the Final Rule is spearheaded by West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey and Kentucky AG Russell Coleman, leading a coalition of Republican AGs.  They criticize the rule as arbitrary, capricious, and beyond the EPA’s legal authority. The Final Rule has also been challenged in petitions filed by industry groups, the State of Texas acting on its own, and various Arizona stakeholders.