The Supreme Court issued its ruling today in the long-awaited climate change nuisance suit. The Court concluded that federal common law nuisance claims cannot be brought against utilities for their greenhouse gas emissions. In an 8-0 decision, the Court ruled that the Clean Air Act and rules authorized by the Act displace the federal common law cause of action and that there is no room for parallel action. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit had previously ruled that eight states, New York City, and three environmental groups could proceed with lawsuits alleging under federal common law that the companies’ carbon dioxide emissions constitute a public nuisance in contributing to global warming. (Connecticut v. American Electric Power Co., 582 F.3d 309, 69 ERC 1385 (2d Cir. 2009)). This Supreme Court decision overturns that ruling.
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