City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, “Earth Day should remind us of the moral responsibilities we owe to generations to come, and the stakes couldn’t be higher than for coastal cities like San Francisco.”

Earth Day highlights stakes, solutions

Amicus brief Herrera co-authored to support President Obama’s Clean Power Plan cites key examples of San Francisco’s ‘exemplary environmental stewardship’
City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, “Earth Day should remind us of the moral responsibilities we owe to generations to come, and the stakes couldn’t be higher than for coastal cities like San Francisco.”
City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, “Earth Day should remind us of the moral responsibilities we owe to generations to come, and the stakes couldn’t be higher than for coastal cities like San Francisco.”

SAN FRANCISCO (April 22, 2016)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera marked the global observance of Earth Day today by highlighting San Francisco’s participation among dozens of local governments in support of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is currently facing a federal legal challenge by Republican Attorneys General from more than 20 states.

“Earth Day should remind us of the moral responsibilities we owe to generations to come, and the stakes couldn’t be higher than for coastal cities like San Francisco,” Herrera said.  “Each of us has a role to play to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and I’m proud to serve a city that has shown such exemplary environmental stewardship.  The amicus brief my office helped to co-author in support of President Obama cites specific examples of environmental dangers facing San Francisco—threats to our public infrastructure, to our port and airport, and to our cherished neighborhoods.  But just as importantly, it also cites San Francisco’s solutions—our Green Building Ordinance, our Energy Performance Ordinance, and the work so many San Franciscans are doing not just to prepare for rising sea levels, but to reverse their causes.”

Herrera’s office joined the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and public law offices for cities and counties nationwide in an amicus brief earlier this month urging a federal appeals court to allow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to more stringently regulate greenhouse gases spewed by existing power plants. 

In 2009, Herrera negotiated the closure of a local fossil-fueled power plant that the San Francisco Chronicle praised as “nothing short of a miracle.”  The accord permanently shuttered the Mirant Potrero power plant, and secured the Atlanta-based energy giant’s commitment to pay $1 million to help address pediatric asthma in nearby communities and initiate other mitigations in adjacent neighborhoods.

The Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan calls on states to reduce pollutants from existing fossil-fueled power plants, which the brief identifies as the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.  The amicus brief contends that cities are uniquely vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of global climate change, and are already paying for its effects.  Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for June 2, 2016 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Of Columbia in Washington, D.C.

The case is: State of West Virginia, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, Case No. 15-1363 (and consolidated cases). 

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