MA Supreme Judicial Court Hears On Commonwealth’s Failure To Enforce Climate Law


Media Contact:
Josh Block
jblock@clf.org
(617) 850-1709

CLF & partners claim MA DEP ignored legal obligations under the Global Warming Solutions Act

January 8, 2016 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) attorney Jenny Rushlow argued today before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court concerning the Commonwealth’s failure to enforce the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act. The case, Kain et al. v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), was brought by CLF, Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance, and four teenage plaintiffs.

“Massachusetts has a landmark law on the books to make us a national leader in reducing carbon pollution, but that law is meaningless if our leaders continue skirting their obligation to enforce it,” commented Rushlow. “Today, rather than honoring the letter of the law, DEP again used flawed logic and post-hoc rationalizations to sidestep its own legal mandates. The people of Massachusetts deserve more than an empty gesture.”

The Global Warming Solutions Act was passed in 2008 and requires the Commonwealth to achieve a 25% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050 (as compared to 1990 levels). According to this law, the Massachusetts DEP was required to adopt regulations to reach these reduction mandates by January 2012 and implement them by January 2013. To date, no such regulations have been adopted, let alone implemented.

Larry Chretien, Executive Director of Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance, added, “We know the greenhouse gas reductions are necessary, so let’s go about them in the smartest way possible by adhering to a plan and backing it up with regulations. Many of the things done in recent years have been positive, but energy consumers are better off with comprehensive regulations rather than the ad hoc approach we have now.”

In a recent hearing of the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming & Climate Change (available here), Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton claimed the current trajectory provides “no chance” of the Commonwealth meeting its initial 2020 emissions reduction requirement.

Experts are available for further comment.

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