The Illinois EPA (IEPA) approved permits under the Clean Air Act for a number of coal-fired power plants in Illinois. The federal EPA did not object to the issuance of those permits. The Illinois Attorney General’s office and several environmental groups filed suit requesting the Administrator of the EPA to reject the permits. The Administrator rejected the request, and the plaintiffs appealed. The Attorney General asserted standing as both a sovereign state and as parens patriae for its citizens. The appellate court rejected the Attorney General’s argument that she could pursue the case as a sovereign state. The court held that the state was not the direct recipient of the EPA’s action, but was challenging a position advanced by the state through the IEPA. The court also rejected the Attorney General’s standing as parens patriae. The court noted that a state may not bring a parens patriae suit against the federal government because there the United States, and not the state, represents the people’s interests., in this case, “the general interests of the people of Illinois would seem to be represented (at least informally) by the IEPA.” The court distinguished between formal and informal representation, acknowledging that “the authority to represent the State in litigation . . . is possessed exclusively by the Illinois attorney general when the State is the only real party in interest.” The court acknowledged that the Attorney General has “broad authority to protect public rights, which indicates that she has capacity to sue, standing must be independently established in every case.” That standing was not established here.