Four Attorneys General, three Republicans and one Democrat, from Florida, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will face millions of dollars in negative television ads funded by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg through his political action committee Independence USA PAC, criticizing their participation in a coalition of 24 AGs (22 Republicans and two Democrats) seeking to block and overturn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Clean Power Plan. The EPA’s new Plan would require a 32% cut in power-plant carbon emissions by 2030.
The advertisements accuse the AGs of “siding with polluters” and “catering to corporate special interests” by engaging in “politically motivated” lawsuits against the EPA to stop the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution and increase clean energy use. The ads target four presidential battleground states, but according to reports more AGs may be targeted for their efforts to block the Plan.
This litigation is part of a broader trend over the last decade of AGs filing “rule of law” lawsuits challenging the federal government’s overreach in its promulgation, interpretation, and enforcement of various laws and regulations. For example, just last month three AGs filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), challenging a CMS regulation imposing a Health Insurance Providers Fee as an unconstitutional tax on the states. In the current EPA case, the AGs claim that the proposed Clean Power Plan will harm manufacturing and raise energy prices, and allege in their lawsuit that the EPA has unlawfully expanded the federal government’s regulatory power by directing states to shift electricity generation from fossil fuels to other sources.
19 Democratic AGs, from 18 states and the District of Columbia, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman, filed a motion last week to intervene in the lawsuit to defend the EPA’s Plan. According to the motion, the EPA’s Plan incorporates successful strategies states have used to cut climate change pollution from power plants.