States, environmental groups delay suit against EPA, watch for climate plan
WASHINGTON — Environmental groups and a dozen states and cities said Monday they will delay planned legal action against the Environmental Protection Agency, saying they will wait to see if the White House soon presents a climate policy strategy.
The attorneys general of New York and nine other states, along with three major green groups, had planned to sue the EPA this week because it missed a deadline in April to finalize emissions standards for new electric power plants.
Two months after notifying the agency they intended to sue, the consortium had expected to file as early as Monday, but backed off to allow the White House to disclose its climate plans.
Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said the lawsuit would be postponed “for a short period” because of reports of an announcement.
President Obama reportedly told campaign donors last week he will present a package of measures to combat climate change, possibly including EPA curbs on power plant emissions.
Many of those donors are ardent opponents of TransCanada Corp’s planned Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil produced in Canada’s oil sands regions to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Some policy analysts reason that, if Obama approves the pipeline, he will face pressure to announce strong climate measures to offset the move.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the groups that planned to sue, said that Obama should advance his previous pledges.
“The president has set a goal to cut our carbon emissions by 17 percent — from our 2005 levels — by 2020. We need a set of actions that will get us there,” said David Hawkins, director of climate programs at the environmental group.