Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Federal Litigation Summary

Last updated: 10/04/18

Total cases against the federal government since January 2017 32
Total cases led by Washington State Attorney General's Office 10
Total cases led by other state attorneys general 22

 

Legal Victories - Completed 8
Legal Victories - Appealed or could be Appealed 6
Cases Washington lost 0

 

Relevant Documents:

Letter to Sen. Schoesler detailing the cost to taxpayers related to this litigation.

Legal record of the Texas attorneys general against the Obama administration (49 Cases Filed, 7 Cases Won, 12 Cases Lost) 

 

Legal Victories - Completed 

Washington V. Trump
Subject: Original travel ban
Date Filed: 1/30/2017
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: Minnesota, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon
Status: Won

Overview

The travel ban separated families, divided employers from employees, and prohibited students and professors from resuming studies in the United States. In addition, many individuals lawfully in Washington state were denied the right to visit family members abroad, or travel for business. When Washington challenged the constitutionality and legality of the travel ban in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on January 30, 2017, individuals with green cards and valid visas were subject to the travel ban and being turned away at airports.

Washington’s complaint included dozens of declarations from Washington businesses, colleges and universities, and national security experts.

Judge James Robart, appointed by President George W. Bush, ruled in Washington’s favor on February 3, 2017, granting a nationwide temporary restraining order. On February 9, in a unanimous opinion, a panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction. The Trump Administration chose not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, rescinded the executive order, and agreed to reimburse Washington’s costs related to the appeal.

 

New York v. Perry
Subject: Energy efficiency standards
Date Filed: 3/31/17
Leading State(s): New  York
Joining States: Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia
Status: Won

Overview

On March 31, 2017, the Washington state Attorney General’s Office and a multistate coalition of attorneys general sought review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the administration’s unlawful delay in implementing new energy efficiency rules for ceiling fans. After the states filed the lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Energy conceded and announced that the rules would go into effect.

The energy efficiency rules are estimated to reduce electrical consumption by about 200 billion kilowatt hours over the next three decades, saving consumers anywhere from $4.5 billion to $12.1 billion in energy costs.

 

Clean Air Council, et al. v. EPA
Subject: New oil & gas facilities
Date Filed: 6/20/17
Leading State(s): California and Massachusetts
Joining States: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia
Status: Won

Overview

On June 20, 2017, state attorneys general intervened in a lawsuit against the EPA challenging delays in implementing a rule regulating emissions from new oil and gas facilities. The rule provides important protections for Washington’s residents against the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. The effects of methane cannot be reversed or undone.

On July 3, the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of Washington state, finding that the EPA had violated the Clean Air Act. Industry intervenors sought en banc review. On August 10, 2017, with an 8-3 decision, the D.C. Circuit Court denied en banc review. 

 

New York v. EPA
Subject: Ground-level ozone standards
Date Filed: 8/1/17
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and District of Columbia 
Status: Won

Overview

On August 1, 2017, 15 states, including Washington, filed suit against the EPA in the D.C. Circuit after Administrator Pruitt announced his decision to delay designating which areas of the country met the new ground-level ozone standards. The next day, Administrator Pruitt reversed course and withdrew the decision to delay. 

 

California, et al. v. U.S. Department of Transportation
Subject: Vehicle emissions rule
Date Filed: 9/20/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington
Status: Won

Overview

On September 20, 2017, Washington and eight other states filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California after the Federal Highway Administration unlawfully suspended the effective date of an important rule aimed at reducing greenhouse gases without notice or opportunity for comment. The rule requires states to measure the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by on-road vehicles on the national highway system and to set targets for reducing those emissions.

The Federal Highway Administration has since conceded and announced the rules would immediately go into effect pending a procedurally valid repeal.

 

California v. Pruitt
Subject: Ground-level ozone
Date Filed: 12/5/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia
Status: Won

Overview

On December 5, 2017, Washington and 14 other states filed a lawsuit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of violating the Clean Air Act by delaying air quality standards for ground-level ozone pollution. After Washington and 15 other states filed a lawsuit in July 2017, the EPA withdrew its decision to delay the deadline for designating which areas around the country did and did not comply with new standards. However, the EPA failed to meet the October 1, 2017, deadline for the designations.

On March 12, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. granted summary judgment in favor of the states, ruling that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act and ordering the agency to adopt the designations by no later April 30, 2018. The EPA complied with the order on April 30.

 

California, et al. v. EPA
Subject: Glider trucks
Date Filed: 7/19/18
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia 
Status: Won

Overview

On July 19, 2018, Washington and 16 other attorneys general filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging an Environmental Protection Agency action that effectively suspends strict limits on “glider” trucks — new heavy-duty trucks manufactured with highly polluting, refurbished engines that do not comply with modern emissions standards. The action, taken by outgoing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on his last day with the agency, allows manufacturers to put thousands more of the high-polluting trucks on the road before any formal process to modify or repeal the strict limits, instituted in 2016, is completed. On July 26, 2018, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a memo withdrawing the guidance suspending the limits on glider trucks.

 

Massachusetts, et al. v. Devos
Subject: Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule
Date Filed: 7/6/17
Leading State(s): Massachusetts
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia
Status:

Won

Overview

On July 6, 2017, Washington joined 18 other attorneys general to file a lawsuit in the D.C. District against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The lawsuit followed DeVos’ announcement that the Department of Education was delaying indefinitely the implementation of the “borrower defense regulations,” which were set to go into effect on July 1, 2017. The borrower defense regulations provide important consumer protections for prospective, current, and former students of for-profit colleges. For example, under the rules, a state attorney general’s successful litigation against a school for violating consumer protection laws can make its students automatically eligible for student loan forgiveness.

The states’ case was consolidated with a similar challenge, Bauer v. DeVos. On Sept. 12, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss granted the motion for summary judgment of Washington and the other Plaintiff States and ruled the Department of Education improperly delayed implementation of the rules. The rules went into effect on Oct. 16.

 

Legal Victories - Appealed or Could Be Appealed

 

Karnoski et al. v. Trump, et al.
Subject: Military transgender ban
Date Filed: 9/25/17
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  
Status: Victory at trial court - Oral argument in the Ninth Circuit is scheduled for October 10, 2018

Overview

Washington is home to 60,000 members of the active and reserve military, including over 8,000 soldiers and airmen in the Washington National Guard. The National Guard is integral to Washington’s emergency preparedness and disaster recovery planning. President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals in the military applies to Washington’s National Guard as well as the active duty military, restricting the Guard’s recruiting pool.

Our motion to intervene was granted on November 14, 2017. On December 11, 2017, Judge Marsha Pechman granted a preliminary injunction, blocking President Trump's ban on transgender individuals in the military while the case moves forward. The Department of Justice has decided not to appeal the injunction.

 

New York, et al. v. Trump
Subject: DACA
Date Filed: 9/6/17
Leading State(s): Washington, New York, Massachusetts
Joining States: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and District of Columbia
Status: On 2/13/18 a US District Court Judge granted the states a preliminary injunction blocking the effort to end DACA. Briefing to Second Circuit due 10/5/18. 

Overview

On September 6, 2017, Washington and 16 other states filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York seeking to halt President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The president’s decision ends protections for 17,000 Dreamers in Washington state alone. Dreamers were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own. They are attending our universities, working for our state agencies and local governments, and contributing to our economy. In addition to seeking a halt to the president’s decision to end DACA, this lawsuit seeks to prevent the federal government from misusing personal information Dreamers provided the government in good faith in order to sign up for DACA after being promised that information would not be used to deport them or their families.

On February 13, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis granted the states' request for a preliminary injunction, blocking President Donald Trump's effort to end the DACA program. On March 29,2018, Judge Garaufis ruled that the states' constitutional challenge to Trump's decision can go forward. The injunction enjoins the cancellation of DACA for current recipients and requires the Department of Homeland Security to accept and process renewal applications for current DACA grantees. The injunction protects nearly 18,000 Washingtonians who are DACA grantees and, as a result, can work and go to school in our State. The federal government has appealed the preliminary injunction, along with the trial court’s orders denying the government’s motions to dismiss the case. The appeals of the three district court orders (two orders on motions to dismiss and the preliminary injunction order) have been consolidated before Second Circuit. Briefing will be complete by October 5, and the oral argument date has not yet been set by the appeals court.

 

California, et al. v. Perry
Subject: Energy efficiency standards for appliances
Date Filed: 6/13/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and City of New York
Status: Victory at trial court - Ongoing

Overview

On June 13, 2017, Washington and 10 other states filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California over the Trump Administration’s unlawful delay of new energy efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and freezers, portable air conditioners, and other appliances. The standards will save consumers at least $4.7 billion in energy costs.

On Feb. 15, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria granted the states' motion for summary judgment, and ordered the administration to publish the new standards within the next 28 days. The administration has appealed the ruling, which has been stayed pending the appeal.

 

Washington, et al. v. U.S. Department of State, et al.
Subject: 3D printed guns
Date Filed: 7/30/18
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York, and District of Columbia
Status: Victory at trial court - Ongoing

Overview

On July 30, 2018, Washington, seven states and the District of Columbia filed a complaint and a motion for temporary restraining order, arguing that Trump Administration actions to allow the distribution of data files for downloadable, 3D-printed firearms violate the Administrative Procedure Act and the Tenth Amendment. On July 31, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik granted Washington's request for a temporary restraining order blocking the distribution of the data files for downloadable 3D-printed firearms.Judge Lasnik converted the TRO to a nationwide preliminary injunction on August 27, 2018. 

 

League of United Latin American Citizens, et al. v. Wheeler
Subject: Pesticides
Date Filed: 6/6/17
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Maryland, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, and District of Columbia
Status: Victory at circuit court - Ongoing

Overview

On June 6, 2017, Washington, four other states, and the District of Columbia filed a motion in the Ninth Circuit to intervene in this case, in order to ensure that the EPA completes its review of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos to protect farmworkers and those living in agricultural communities. The motion to intervene in the case was granted in December 2017. Two months later, two additional states joined the lawsuit.

On August 8, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the EPA’s decision to allow continued use of chlorpyrifos, and ordered the EPA to revoke all uses on food within 60 days.

 

New York v. Pruitt
Subject: Chemical Disaster Rule
Date Filed: 7/24/17
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington
Status: Victory at circuit court - Ongoing

Overview

On July 24, 2017, Washington and 10 other states filed a petition for review with the D.C. Circuit over the Trump Administration’s unlawful delay of the Chemical Disaster Rule. The 2010 Tesoro refinery explosion in Anacortes and other high-profile accidents across the nation prompted the Chemical Disaster Rule. On Aug. 18, 2018, a panel with the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Trump Administration’s delay of the Chemical Disaster Rule violated the Clean Air Act.

 

Unresolved Cases against the Trump Administration in which Washington is the Lead

 

Washington v. Trump, et al.
Subject: Contraception access
Date Filed: 10/9/17
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On October 9, 2017, the Washington state Attorney General’s Office filed suit in the Western District of Washington challenging President Trump’s rules restricting contraception access.

If allowed to go forward, President Trump’s rules could have a significant impact on more than 1.5 million Washington workers and their dependents who receive insurance through their employer’s self-funded plan. One study by the Center for American Progress found that contraception costs can generally exceed $1,000 a year without insurance coverage. Some Washington women who currently use contraception may be denied no-cost coverage and be forced to turn to state-funded programs to receive the care they need. State-funded reproductive health services helped more than 90,000 patients in 2016 alone. More than three-quarters of those patients were women who used contraception, saving the state an estimated $160 million in maternal and birth-related costs, according to a report from the Washington State Department of Health.

 

Washington v. Trump (amended)
Subject: Second travel ban
Date Filed: 3/15/17
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon

Overview

Judge Robart heard Washington’s challenge to the revised travel ban on March 15. Before he could rule, judges in Maryland and Hawaii issued nationwide injunctions blocking the implementation of the ban. Judge Robart chose not to issue a ruling given that the revised travel ban was already halted.

 

Washington v. Trump (amended)
Subject: Third travel ban
Date Filed: 10/11/17
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon

Overview

On October 11, 2017, Washington filed a revised complaint in the Western District of Washington challenging President Trump’s third travel ban. President Trump’s third attempt at a travel ban is broader than previous iterations because rather than imposing a “temporary pause,” it indefinitely bans immigration by individuals from affected countries. Washington’s complaint includes dozens of declarations from individuals, universities, state agencies, healthcare system administrators, and businesses regarding the travel ban’s adverse impacts.

 

Washington v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Subject: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Date Filed: 1/31/18
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On January 31, 2018, Washington filed a lawsuit claiming that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed to respond to the Attorney General’s Office’s Freedom of Information Act request, seeking communications among FERC commissioners. The state’s November 2017 FOIA request asked for emails and other written communications during a tumultuous time at FERC, including periods in which the Commission failed to have a quorum, failed to hold any public meetings, and considered a proposal from the Department of Energy that would have upended the energy markets. The case is currently pending in federal court.

 

State of Washington v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al.
Subject: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Date Filed: 3/3/18
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On May 3, 2018, Washington filed a lawsuit claiming the Environmental Protection Agency failed to respond to the Attorney General’s Office’s Freedom of Information Act request, seeking communications from the EPA to advisory committee members regarding the EPA's new policy barring scientists who receive EPA grants from serving on advisory committees. The case is currently pending in federal court.

 

Washington v. United States
Subject: Family separation
Date Filed: 6/26/18
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and District of Columbia

Overview

Washington state leads a coalition of 17 states (plus DC), in a challenge to the Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families along the SW border. The States claim that the Administration violated the constitutional rights of families by separating parents and children without any finding that the parents are unfit or pose a threat to the children, and that family separation is not a legitimate a means of deterring immigration. The States also argue that the Administration has been violating federal asylum laws by turning away families that present at ports of entry, that they have interposed unnecessary burdens on reunification, and that the stated intention to house families indefinitely in detention centers is also impermissible.  Parents who were separated from their children were detained at the Federal Detention Center in Seatac, and a number of children were detained in Seattle and other locations in Western Washington.  Several family members remain in our state as their immigration matters proceed.

The States filed the lawsuit in Seattle in late June, and it was recently transferred to the Southern District of California.  The case is likely to be actively litigated this fall.

 

Other Lawsuits against the Trump Administration

Washington has filed 12 additional lawsuits against the Trump Administration. These legal actions are all part of multistate lawsuits with another state serving as the lead. This approach allows states to operate efficiently by sharing the work.

 

California, et al. v. Zinke, et al.
Subject: Coal leasing on public lands
Date Filed: 5/9/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: New Mexico, New York, Washington
Status: Ongoing

Overview

On May 9, 2017, Washington and three other states filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Great Falls Division, challenging the Department of the Interior’s decision to restart a program to lease coal-mining rights on public land without supplementing or replacing its nearly 40-year-old environmental study about the environmental harms of mining on federal land.

 

California et al. v. Trump
Subject: Cost sharing reduction subsidies
Date Filed: 10/14/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia
Status: Withdrawn

Overview

On October 14, 2017, Washington, 16 other states, and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to unilaterally terminate cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which reduce out-of-pocket health care costs for low-income Americans. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, asserts that the president’s decision to withhold the payments is illegal and unconstitutional. The Trump Administration’s action will increase the premiums of 100,000 Washingtonians by as much as 28 percent. 

After the lawsuit was filed, Washington and several other States made a regulatory change that permitted many of the Washingtonians who would have been injured by the president’s decision to obtain increased premium subsidies for their health insurance purchased on exchanges. As of this date, the Trump Administration had acquiesced in this regulatory change. On July 18, 2018, Judge Vince Chhabria granted the states’ motion to dismiss the case without prejudice, allowing the states to file a new lawsuit in the future on the same issue if prompted by further federal action.

 

Maryland, et al. v. Department of Education
Subject: Gainful Employment Rule
Date Filed: 10/17/17
Leading State(s): Maryland and Pennsylvania
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia
Status: Awaiting decision in US District Court for the District of Columbia, argued on May 1, 2018

Overview

On October 17, 2017, Washington, 16 other states, and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education for unlawfully delaying the gainful employment rule. The gainful employment rule keeps colleges from offering worthless degrees and leaving their graduates with high levels of debt. It denies federal financial aid to schools whose graduates do not make enough money to repay the student loans they took out to earn their degrees.

 

Massachusetts, et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al.
Subject: FOIA request regarding immigration enforcement
Date Filed: 10/17/17
Leading State(s): Massachusetts
Joining States: California, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington and District of Columbia
Status: Ongoing

Overview

On October 17, 2017, Washington joined nine Attorneys General in a lawsuit accusing the Trump Administration of failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request regarding information on federal immigration enforcement. Nearly four months earlier, the Attorneys General requested the information from U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and U.S. Customs & Border Protection, all agencies within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The AGs filed suit after the agencies failed to disclose the information.

 

New York, et al. v. Pruitt, et al.
Subject: Waters of the United States
Date Filed: 2/6/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and District of Columbia
Status: Awaiting decision in US District Court for the Southern District of New York

Overview

On Feb. 6, 2018, we joined 10 other Attorneys General to file a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to suspend the “waters of the United States” rule. The rule provides much-needed clarity about which waters qualify for protection under the Clean Water Act, and which waters are only regulated by sometimes inconsistent state laws. The “waters of the United States” rule applies the Clean Water Act to both navigable waters and upstream waters that impact the chemical, physical and biological integrity of navigable waters, providing uniformity for state and federal regulators and project managers alike.

 

New York, et al. v. Federal Communications Commission
Subject: Net neutrality
Date Filed: 2/22/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and District of Columbia
Status: Ongoing

Overview

On Feb. 22, 2018, Washington, 21 other states and the District of Columbia sought review of the Federal Communications Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order. The states contend the FCC's decision to repeal Obama-era “net neutrality” rules violates the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Communications Act of 1934. The appeal is currently proceeding in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

 

New York et al. v. U.S. Department of Commerce
Subject: Citizenship question on 2020 Census
Date Filed: 4/3/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia; Cities of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, and Seattle; City and County of San Francisco; and the United States Conference of Mayors
Status: Ongoing

Overview

On April 3, 2018, Washington, 16 other states and the District of Columbia, in addition to six cities and San Francisco County, filed a lawsuit to block the addition of a question regarding U.S. citizenship to the 2020 Census. The lawsuit argues that, according to the Census Bureau’s own research, adding such a question will depress participation in the Census, potentially resulting in an undercount that will adversely impact congressional representation and jeopardize some of the billions of dollars in federal funding allocated based on Census data.

 

New York et al. v. Pruitt
Subject: Existing oil and gas facilities
Date Filed: 4/5/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia; City of Chicago
Status: Ongoing

Overview

On April 5, 2018, state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the EPA and EPA head Scott Pruitt, challenging delays in implementing a rule regulating emissions from existing oil and gas facilities. Once the EPA adopts a rule to limit emissions from new and modified facilities in a given industrial sector, which it did in 2016, it must establish guidelines for limiting emissions from existing facilities. Pruitt abruptly ordered the EPA to halt the process for establishing guidelines for existing oil and gas facilities in March 2017. The rule provides important protections for Washington’s residents against the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Existing oil and natural gas facilities will account for up to 90 percent of the total methane emissions by facilities in 2018.

 

California et al. v. EPA
Subject: Vehicle emissions
Date Filed: 5/1/18
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia
Status: Ongoing

Overview

On May 1, 2018, Washington and 17 other states filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his decision to restart the approval process for vehicle emissions standards for car and light-duty truck models produced between 2022 and 2025. The standards ensure that new vehicles have better fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA had determined in January 2017 that these standards were viable for the auto industry, but Pruitt rescinded the standards without providing any evidence that invalidates the EPA’s 2017 determination. The states allege that Pruitt’s decision was arbitrary and capricious, violating the Administrative Procedures Act and the Clean Air Act. 

 

New York v. Pruitt
Subject: Hydrofluorocarbons
Date Filed: 6/27/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Status: Ongoing

Overview

On June 27, 2018, Washington and 10 other Attorneys General filed a lawsuit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of violating the Clean Air Act by improperly reversing a rule that prohibited the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, in response to a narrow DC Circuit ruling. HFCs are a powerful type of greenhouse gas used in air conditioning, refrigeration, aerosols and fire retardants. Their global warming potential is 300 to 1,000 times greater than carbon dioxide.

 

New York et al. v. Department of Justice
Subject: Law enforcement grants
Date Filed: 7/18/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington
Status: Ongoing

Overview

On July 18, 2018, Washington and five other states filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging the Department of Justice’s decision to restrict certain law enforcement grant funds only to those jurisdictions that assist the federal government with its civil immigration priorities. The government’s decision to condition the funds on whether states and localities provide access and information to federal immigration enforcement authorities jeopardizes nearly $3.3 million awarded to Washington state through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program.

 

New York et al. v. U.S. Department of Labor
Subject: Association Health Plans
Date Filed: 7/26/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia
Status: Ongoing

Overview

On July 26, 2018, Washington and 11 other attorneys general filed a lawsuit challenging a Department of Labor rule that allows small businesses and self-employed individuals to join association health plans, which could significantly draw healthy people out of state health care exchanges. According to the lawsuit, the rule, published June 21, 2018, unlawfully expands the definition of “employer” as passed by Congress. This conflicts with the clear statutory structure Congress set up when it passed the Affordable Care Act. The states’ lawsuit argues that expanding this definition requires an act of Congress, meaning the Trump Administration cannot do it unilaterally.

 

Cases Lost

None.