Kivalina and AEP Claim Another Victim – New York Climate Change Suit Falls

Like the proverbial acid relentlessly burning its way through materials in which it comes in contact, the relentless reasoning underlying the Am. Elec. Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, 564 U.S. 410 (2011) (AEP) and Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobile Corp., 696 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2012) (Kivalina) climate lawsuits has claimed another victim. After taking out the lawsuits filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland earlier this summer (Order), Kivalina and AEP now have been used to eliminate the climate change suit filed by the City of
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Kivalina and AEP Strike Again – Oakland and San Francisco Climate Change Suits Dismissed

By Order dated June 25, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the lawsuits filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland seeking compensation from five of the world’s largest energy producers for the costs of adapting to climate change allegedly caused in part by these companies’ sale of fossil fuels. This dismissal brings to an end, at least temporarily, to two of the fourteen second-generation climate change lawsuits that have been filed
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Climate Change Lawsuits Heat Up – The City of Boulder, Boulder County, and San Miguel County Join the Mix

On April 17, 2018, the City of Boulder, Boulder County, and San Miguel County, all in Colorado, collectively became the latest government entities to file suit against some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, seeking compensation for the costs of adapting to climate change in their communities.   Non-coastal suits arrive: The Colorado suit, similar to all the previously filed government suits, alleges that the defendants’ greenhouse gas products are directly responsible for current and future physical impacts
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Cutting out the CARBs: EPA Administrator Suggests Possible Split with California on Emission Standards

Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently discussed a broad range of issues in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Chief among those, Pruitt stated that the EPA is opposed to setting stricter fuel economy standards beyond 2025 and has questioned whether individual states should be able to enact their own tougher emissions rules for cars and light trucks. Pruitt said that California, which has a waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act giving it authority to
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California Second Generation Climate Change Suits — Back to the Future with Federal Common Law?

An interesting battle currently is playing out in the California courts involving what can be considered a “second generation” of climate change suits that seek to hold producers of greenhouse gases responsible for the costs that government entities are forced to expend in adapting to climate change. In July 2017, three California government entities — Marin and San Mateo Counties, along with the City of Imperial Beach — filed suit in California Superior Court against some of the world’s largest
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MTBE Update — Maryland AG’s Office Commences MTBE Litigation Against 50 Oil Companies

Just last month, the Maryland Attorney General filed suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court against over 50 petroleum related companies to recover damages and address widespread contamination of Maryland’s waters with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). MTBE is a chemical compound that was used as a fuel additive in gasoline since the late 1970s to make the fuel burn more cleanly, reducing smog. In the 1990s, MTBE was used specifically to fulfill the oxygenate requirements set by Congress in the
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It’s High Noon: Showdown Between States, EPA on Ozone Regulations

On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 14 states — including California, New York, and Illinois — plus the District of Columbia filed suit in federal court in the Northern District of California against Scott Pruitt and the EPA. The states are trying to force EPA to announce a decision on whether all areas of the country are in or out of compliance with Clean Air Act ozone standards. According to the complaint, such designations trigger the steps necessary to protect the
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Court Rejects the EPA’s Efforts to Stay the Methane Gas Rule

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency implemented a rule for fugitive methane gas and other greenhouse gasses to reduce pollution. Methane gas is considered a greenhouse gas because in the air, unused methane absorbs the heat from the sun and poses a global warming potential that is about 21 times greater than carbon dioxide. The Methane Gas Rule imposed “new source performance standards” on the oil and gas industry. The new performance standards, which were effective as of August 2, 2016, required the oil and gas industry to conduct an initial monitoring survey and identify and repair any methane leaks by June 3, 2017. Just
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Back to the Drawing Board for Clean Coal

Kemper County Power Generation Facility, the flagship “clean coal” project in rural eastern Mississippi, will rely on natural gas rather than coal to produce electricity. After years of delays and cost overruns totaling over $4 billion over the facility’s original budget of $2.9 billion, the facility’s coal gasifier project has been shuttered. The Kemper facility had been central to the Obama administration’s energy plan and to the administration’s assertions that it was not anti-coal. However, the worsening situation prompted the
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Regulated Industry Beware: Citizen Suit Under Clean Air Act Results in Largest Ever Penalty

In late April 2017, ExxonMobil was ordered to pay almost $20 million in penalties for violations of the Clean Air Act in the Houston area. The oil giant was sued in 2010 by environmental groups The Sierra Club and Environment Texas, which alleged that the corporation emitted levels of hazardous contaminants in excess of what is permitted by federal and state law. U.S. District Judge David Hittner stated in his decision that Exxon financially benefited to the tune of $14
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