This is a Moms Clean Air Force exclusive interview with New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General K. Allen Brooks:
What is unique about protecting New Hampshire’s resources?
New Hampshire’s environment is closely linked to its culture, economy, and quality of life. (Tweet this) Most of New Hampshire’s most popular attractions involve the outdoors and the environment. These can be negatively impacted by climatic change, periods of drought, increasingly frequent flash floods, invasive species, sea level rise and other environmental stressors. Outdoor recreational activities like hiking, skiing, and “leaf-looking” are particularly susceptible to changes in climate and weather patterns.
As a parent are you worried about the impacts of climate change and air pollution on the children of New Hampshire?
I am hopeful that informed, cooperative efforts will produce the changes required, but time is short. Greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for a long time. Temperature changes can also create negative feedback loops that will exacerbate climate change issues once certain thresholds are reached. Therefore, although other dangers posed by substances like aerosols and acid-forming gases can be fixed relatively quickly, climate change must be addressed before it is too late.
Why is America’s Clean Power Plan important for New Hampshire families?
The Clean Power Plan requires that the rest of the nation catch-up to New Hampshire and the other states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”) which already curbs emissions of greenhouse gases. Meaningful changes to global emissions must occur at the national scale.
Can you describe New Hampshire’s role in the ongoing litigation involving America’s Clean Power Plan?
New Hampshire coordinates with a number of other states on the proper legal response to issues as they arise in the Clean Power Plan litigation. Although we often agree on the appropriate course of action, each state must decide for itself whether it supports a particular position.
Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?
Your work is important. The ability of Moms Clean Air Force members to articulate, as a cohesive group, a reasoned fact-based position on critical air quality and climate change issues will greatly influence decision-makers.
Allen Brooks has worked at the N.H. Department of Justice since 2004 and has been chief of its Environmental Protection Bureau since 2008. In 2007, Allen, as part of a multi-state and federal team, helped negotiate the largest settlement in the history of the Clean Air Act in which American Electric Power, Inc. was required to install approximately $5 billion worth of controls for violations of New Source Review requirements and pay tens of millions of dollars in penalties and environmental projects. During his tenure, the State has signed onto many nationwide efforts to protect air quality including suits to defend the Mercury Air Toxics (“MATS”) Rule, the endangerment finding, the tailoring rule, New Source Performance Standards for oil refineries, and most recently, America’s Clean Power Plan. Allen also worked to help establish the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”). Currently, Allen is participating in the coordinated multistate effort against Volkswagen for installation of its illegal “defeat device” as a member of both the executive committee and environmental sub-committee. His enforcement litigation within New Hampshire includes cases related to asbestos, criteria pollutants, toxic air pollutants, as well as cases related to water, waste, conservation, fish and game, and other State programs. Prior to working at the N.H. Department of Justice, Allen worked for four years for the State of California protecting San Francisco Bay.