Defendants Win "Round One" of Climate Change Fight in United States Supreme Court


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.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Richard Faulk | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Richard Faulk on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.