Obama throws AGW court case under a bus

Legal analysis

But, but, but, Obama’s a friend to the environment – he’d never do something like this! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what his administration has done, urging the Supreme Court to throw out a ruling that would allow big emitters to be sued under the law of public nuisance. As the New York Times reports:

In the case, AEP v. Connecticut, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a coalition of states, environmental groups and New York City. The decision, handed down last year, said they could proceed with a lawsuit that seeks to force several of the nation’s largest coal-fired utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The defendants — American Electric Power Co. Inc., Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co. and Xcel Energy Inc. — filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court earlier this month, asking the court to reject the argument that greenhouse gas emissions can be addressed through “public nuisance” lawsuits (Greenwire, Aug. 4).

In a brief (pdf) filed yesterday on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority, acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal agreed with the defendants, saying that U.S. EPA’s newly finalized regulations on greenhouse gases have displaced that type of common-law claim.

Katyal urged the court to vacate the decision and remand the case to the 2nd Circuit for further proceedings, this time taking into account the administration’s push to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The environmentalists are speechless (almost):

Matt Pawa, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the case, said he and his colleagues expected the White House to stay out of the matter. During a meeting with more than 30 administration lawyers at the solicitor general’s office on June 24, it seemed they had “a lot of friends in the room,” he said.

“We feel stabbed in the back,” Pawa said. “This was really a dastardly move by an administration that said it was a friend of the environment. With friends like this, who needs enemies?”

Top attorneys at environmental advocacy groups are buzzing about the brief, sources say. Some feel betrayed by a White House that has generally been more amenable to environmental regulation than its predecessor.

“This reads as if it were cut and pasted from the Bush administration’s briefing in Massachusetts,” said David Bookbinder, who served as the Sierra Club’s chief climate counsel until his resignation in May.

Don’t worry, the EPA has still classified CO2 as a pollutant, so there’s still a chance of fully-blown climate madness in the US.

Read it here.


  1. The reasoning of Obama might be, “Let it go to court??? NO WAY!!! Then we would have to show EVIIDENCE to support our green hysteria!”

  2. woodNfish says:

    You are wrong about what Obama is doing. He wants to stop the state-level nuisance lawsuits and have the power transferred to the EPA clean air regulation, so the EPA can bankrupt the coal fired electricity producers. This is basically a wolf in sheep’s clothing action.

    Obama is an ideologue, he will never give up in trying to destroy this country.

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