AG Curtis Hill praises federal court’s dismissal of lawsuit against fossil-fuel producers

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Attorney General Curtis Hill announced today that a 15-state coalition led by Indiana has prevailed in its support of a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland against various energy and manufacturing companies.

The two cities, in the name of the State of California, had claimed that five fossil-fuel-producing corporations were violating “common law” because they contributed to global warming – which, the plaintiffs said, constitutes a “public nuisance.”

In dismissing the lawsuit, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California cited U.S. Supreme Court precedent finding that the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency’s corresponding authority to set emission standards have displaced federal common law nuisance claims pertaining to emissions. The district court also cited the separation of powers doctrine, stating that courts should exercise restraint in matters best left to other branches of government.

“The court has affirmed what should be obvious – that California localities cannot dictate national energy policy or curb economic activity that occurs outside California,” Attorney General Hill said. “This decision rightly upholds the principles of federalism and appropriate exercise of judicial authority.”

The dismissal of the lawsuit should be supported even by the most avid of environmentalists, he added.

“This decision had nothing to do with the need to exercise wise stewardship of the environment,” Attorney General Hill said. “We should do everything we can to preserve the natural resources of our planet in as economically effective a way as possible. Rather than overregulating, however, we need to make certain that we educate oncoming generations on appropriate ways to use energy and promote greater efficiencies.”

Indiana was joined in its amicus brief by Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Attached, see the amicus brief filed April 19 as well as the June 25 order dismissing the lawsuit.

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