Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard joined 16 other state attorneys general to ask the Environmental Projection Agency to stop dragging its feet on regulating greenhouse gases.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EPA has authority to regulate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
In a Jan. 23 letter to EPA administrator Stephen Johnson, the attorneys general said the EPA has unreasonably delayed following the court’s directive in determining whether greenhouse gases are harmful under the Clean Air Act.
Until the Supreme Court ruling, Massachusetts v. the EPA, the agency had said it had no authority to regulate greenhouse gases.
In the three-page letter, the state attorneys general wrote that the issue dated back to a 1999 petition against the agency by the state of Massachusetts. The EPA’s initial response led to the lawsuit.
The letter said the time for EPA to act had passed.
“EPA’s failure to exercise its clear authority under the Clean Air Act and to act on the petition constitutes an abdication of its regulatory responsibility,” the letter stated.
The attorneys general threatened legal action if the agency did not respond to the letter by Feb. 27. In addition to Goddard, the letter was signed by the attorneys general of Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon and others.
In a separate matter, Arizona has joined other states in suing the EPA for denying California a waiver allowing that state to regulate greenhouse-gas tailpipe emissions. With a waiver, other states can follow California’s lead. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has written draft rules regulating automotive greenhouse gases, with final approval expected by summer.