Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


New rules would cause increased air pollution, potentially thousands more deaths and illnesses every year versus the Clean Power Plan

OLYMPIA — A coalition of 26 state and local governments including Washington state filed a comment letter today challenging the EPA’s proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan with the “Affordable Clean Energy” rule, which would not require significant carbon emission reductions.

Earlier this month, Gov. Inslee testified against the rollback at a public hearing in Chicago. The hearing was the only public opportunity the Administration has provided for input on the plan.

Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson today issued the following statement:

“The comment letter we filed today could not be more clear: the proposed rule is one of the most harmful steps President Trump could take for human health and our environment. Time and time again, President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency shows it has no interest in actually protecting the environment — or following the law. The EPA has a statutory mandate to protect our environment. As our letter explains, this proposal does the opposite. It shamelessly panders to the fossil fuel industry at the expense of human health and the environment.

“Carbon emissions from electricity generation have already dropped 28 percent, nearly reaching the Clean Power Plan’s 2030 goals more than a decade early. It is incomprehensible that the federal government would want to reverse this progress and put lives at risk.

“The EPA’s proposal disregards the voluminous factual and science-based record developed in support of the Clean Power Plan. The government must have clear, fact-based reasons for the actions it takes. The Trump Administration has fallen short on this many times. Washington has won six cases against the EPA.”

According to the letter, the proposed “Affordable Clean Energy” rule would result in an increase in air pollution compared to the Clean Power Plan. The EPA’s own analysis shows that the increased pollution could cause thousands more illnesses and deaths per year.

In Washington state, the proposed rule could cause an increase in carbon emissions, even more than if the EPA chose to repeal the Clean Power Plan and do nothing to replace it. Washington has already seen adverse impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels, increased flooding, increased wildfires and ocean acidification.

In the letter, the attorneys general write that the Affordable Clean Energy rule “neither promotes ‘clean energy’ generation nor does it implement a policy that Americans can ‘afford’ given the need to aggressively cut carbon pollution from power plants and other sources to adequately confront the dangers of climate change.”

Ferguson has filed 32 lawsuits against the Trump Administration and has not lost a case. Ferguson now has 14 legal victories against the Trump Administration. Eight of those cases are finished and cannot be appealed. The Trump Administration has or may appeal the other six, which include lawsuits involving Dreamers, 3D-printed guns and the transgender military ban. No court to rule on the merits of the Attorney General’s arguments in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration has ruled against the office.


The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.


Dan Jackson, Acting Communications Director, (360) 753-2716; DanJ1@atg.wa.gov