Led by New York State, the coalition said the administration has a legal duty to regulate emissions of the gases which scientists believe cause global climate change.
“The law is clear: the EPA must limit carbon pollution from power plants,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement announcing the challenge.
Trump signed an executive order last week targeting climate change regulations ushered in by former President Barack Obama, saying they hinder US energy production and jobs without providing meaningful environmental benefits.
Despite the order, a recent survey carried out by Reuters showed that the energy sector still intends to largely move away from polluting fossil fuels for a variety of reasons, including the availability of cheap natural gas and falling costs for renewable energy.
The order’s main target was Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a law that would require states to slash carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but which was never implemented because it was challenged in court by 26 Republican-led states.
Trump’s order directed the Environmental Protection Agency to review the regulation to decide whether to “suspend, rescind, or revise it.” Shortly after, the EPA filed a legal motion asking the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to delay ongoing court proceedings on the regulation to allow for the review.
The New York-led coalition’s motion on Wednesday asked the court to throw out the EPA’s request to delay court proceedings, saying the delay “would waste the substantial resources already expended in this litigation.”
“This case is ripe for decision now and nothing that EPA has proposed to do obviates the need for this court’s review,” according to the statement.
The coalition includes attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington – along with the District of Columbia and a number of smaller localities.
Donald Trump previously called climate change a “Chinese hoax” in a Tweet from 2012.
In January, climate scientists expressed concern that Donald Trump’s administration would end access to data for climate research produced by Nasa “with frightening speed”.
Last month, China reasserted its commitment to fighting global warming and sticking to agreements made under the 2015 treaty signed in Paris.