Energy

New York AG Champions ‘Progressive Federalism’ To Attack Trump’s Climate Agenda

REUTERS/Joe Penney

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Chris White Tech Reporter

One of the attorneys general investigating the Trump administration suggested Tuesday that activists use a state’s rights tactic to attack the president’s climate agenda.

America’s federalist system gives liberals and environmental activists the tools needed to clobber President Donald Trump’s agenda, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The Democratic lawman, who frequently paints himself as Trump’s biggest opponent, used the term “progressive federalism” to describe his re-branding of states’ rights.

“With the new administration, clearly in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry, the chemical industry and others …. it’s very important to recognize the brilliance of our federal system that there is this second tier of protection at the state level,” he told an audience Tuesday at a conference discussing climate litigation in the age of Trump.

“It’s going to take a different kind of coalition” to defeat the Trump administration’s mission to derail former President Barack Obama’s environmental policies, Schneiderman said.

“State attorneys general are at the core of state resistance,” he added.

Democratic attorney generals (AGs) Brian Frosh and Lisa Madigan, of Maryland and Illinois, respectively, joined Schneiderman at the panel discussion, which took place at the Institute for Policy Integrity’s conference in New York.

The AGs were at the discussion partially to commemorate a $6 million grant former Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave to New York University earlier this year to create the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center, which is geared around helping target the Trump administration’s climate policies.

New York University’s new center will provide AGs with legal services and the money required to pay down court costs on renewable energy, climate and environmental issues. It will also sponsor 10 attorneys on fellowships who will work inside different attorneys general offices.

The center’s services are open to all state AGs, but Schneiderman, California’s Xavier Becerra, and Frosh willingness to drown the president in lawsuits over his climate policies will be the chief recipients of Bloomberg’s grant.

Schneiderman, for instance, has spearheaded more than half a dozen lawsuits defending the Obama-era rule limiting greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. He has also engaged in a year-long investigation into ExxonMobil’s climate record, which managed to rope in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

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