Environmental Law

New Michigan AG withdraws state from suits challenging Obama-era EPA regulations

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Michigan’s new Democratic attorney general, Dana Nessel, has announced she is withdrawing Michigan from lawsuits challenging federal environmental regulations to curb greenhouse gases and toxic emissions.

Nessel announced Tuesday she was withdrawing from four suits challenging Environmental Protection Agency regulations enacted during the administration of President Barack Obama, report Bridge Magazine, MLive.com and the Detroit News.

“Under my watch,” Nessel said in the press release, “Michigan will not be a party to lawsuits that challenge the reasonable regulations aimed at curbing climate change and protecting against exposure to mercury and other toxic substances.”

Nessel’s Republican predecessor, Bill Schuette, had joined state challenges to the regulations. Schuette had supported President Donald Trump’s nomination of Scott Pruitt for EPA director. Pruitt had proposed repeal of a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions before his resignation last year.

Term limits had barred Schuette from another bid for attorney general. He lost a race for governor last year.

AG_Dana_NesselMichigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Photo from the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

Nessel is withdrawing from these cases:

West Virginia v. EPA, which challenges Clean Power Plan rules requiring states to cut greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit paused the Clean Power Plan litigation for 60 days in December.

North Dakota v. EPA, challenging Clean Power Plan rules curbing greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

Murray Energy Corp. v. EPA, challenging an EPA finding regarding emissions of mercury and other toxic substances from power plants.

American Petroleum Institute v. EPA, challenging rules governing methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

Hat tip to @jmalewitz.

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