Attorney General Becerra Joins Multistate Comment Letter Opposing Trump Administration’s Proposal to Weaken Clean Air Act Protections

California Capitol Building
California Capitol Building
This PRESS RELEASE was originally published on THIS SITE
October 9, 2019
Contact: (916) 210-6000, [email protected]

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has joined a multistate coalition in a comment letter condemning the Trump Administration’s proposal that would increase air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions, by allowing major facilities across the country to circumvent New Source Review (NSR) permitting requirements. NSR permitting is one of the pillars of the Federal Clean Air Act, and requires various types of industrial facilities undertaking modifications that will increase air pollution to control those emissions using state-of-the-art technology. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal would create a loophole that would allow facilities to skirt this review process, leading to increased emissions of harmful pollutants. 

“Yet again, the Trump Administration is attempting to strip away common-sense policies that help make sure our children will have clean air to breathe,� said Attorney General Becerra. “While the Trump Administration continues to side with big polluters, California is standing with five other states and the District of Columbia to fight for our planet and protect clean air.�

In the comment letter, the attorneys general argue that the EPA’s proposal would weaken Clean Air Act protections and increase emissions of harmful greenhouse gases by:

  • Undermining the process used to determine if an altered source of air pollution would significantly increase emissions, triggering NSR permitting requirements and compliance with strict technology based emission standards;
  • Allowing facilities to offset increases in emissions reductions from unrelated operating changes, however ancient, to evade regulatory oversight  while simultaneously stripping federal and state regulators of the tools necessary to verify that the claimed reductions are real; and
  • Suggesting that the EPA could require state and local agencies to incorporate the proposed changes into their State Implementation Plans, thereby weakening California’s stronger clean air protections.  

In filing the comment letter, Attorney General Becerra joined the attorneys general of Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the comment letter is available here.