Conservation Law Foundation Will Continue Climate Change Legal Battle

Carol Gregory

March 25, 2015, BOSTON – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) announced today that it will appeal a decision by the Massachusetts Superior Court dismissing their lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for failure to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA).

Passed in 2008, the GWSA required the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt regulations establishing “declining annual aggregate emissions limits” for greenhouse gas emissions sources. The regulations were supposed to be adopted by January 1, 2012 and were to have taken effect by January 1, 2013.  The plaintiffs argue that, as yet, no compliant regulations have been adopted.

 “The Global Warming Solution Act is among the most important climate change laws in the United States. However, even the strongest environmental laws are toothless if their contents are unimplemented,” said Jennifer Rushlow, Staff Attorney, Conservation Law Foundation. “Failure to fully implement this law puts our communities at unnecessary risk. We remain fully committed to our ultimate goal of protecting the people of Massachusetts.”

 CLF presented oral arguments in Suffolk County Superior Court on March 9. The environmental advocacy organization is joined in this lawsuit by Mass Energy Consumers Alliance as a co-plaintiff, and four youth plaintiffs represented by Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak, &Cohen, P.C. The Environmental Law Clinic at Columbia Law School is also co-counsel on the case.

The GWSA requires oversight, accountability, and a regulatory framework to ensure that energy infrastructure decisions are in line with the mandates and emissions limits of the law. If DEP had established regulations under the GWSA as required, power plants like Footprint and pipelines like Kinder Morgan would have to demonstrate that they would comply with emissions limits.

“Although Massachusetts has made great strides towards reducing carbon emissions, ultimately energy consumers and taxpayers will be better off  if we have a comprehensive set of regulations that get us to our GWSA targets in the most sensible ways,” said Larry Chretien, Executive Director, Mass Energy Consumers Alliance. “The Commonwealth has had good and important policies in place since 2008, but those policies alone are not sufficient to get us where we need to be, nor do they reflect some things that would benefit those of us paying the tab.”

Click here to view the decision.

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