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Article
Defendants Win "Round One" of Climate Change Litigation in United States Supreme Court
Westlaw Environmental Journal (2011)
  • Richard O. Faulk
  • John S. Gray
Abstract
In American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut (“AEP”), the United States Supreme Court held that federal common law public nuisance claims seeking injunctive relief against emitters of greenhouse gases (“GHG”) were displaced by the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) and EPA’s regulatory implementation of the Act’s provisions. In hindsight, this holding seems an inevitable outgrowth of Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), which held that GHGs are pollutants subject to CAA regulation. Building on that precedent in a unanimous 8-0 opinion, the AEP Court gave the defendant utility companies a clear-cut victory by precluding judicial direct regulation of GHG through tort litigation. Despite the Supreme Court’s mandate, it is premature to declare victory over all climate change litigation based on common law public nuisance. The high court’s ruling was conspicuously narrow – and it left many important issues unresolved.
Keywords
  • climate change,
  • public nuisance,
  • global warming,
  • Supreme Court,
  • Connecticut,
  • Ameican Electric Power
Disciplines
Publication Date
Summer August 17, 2011
Citation Information
Richard O. Faulk and John S. Gray. "Defendants Win "Round One" of Climate Change Litigation in United States Supreme Court" Westlaw Environmental Journal Vol. 32 Iss. 2 (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/richard_faulk/55/