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Supreme Court Decides that Clean Air Act Displaces Federal Common Law Claims for Climate Change

Trends, Vol. 43, No. 1, September/October 2011

2 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2011  

James May

Widener University Delaware Law School

Date Written: September 22, 2011

Abstract

On June 20, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the closely watched case of American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011) (AEP), in which eight states, the City of New York, and several land trust organizations sued the nation’s five largest fossil-fuel-burning electric utility companies to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, arguing that these emissions constitute a public nuisance under federal common law. The Supreme Court rejected this claim, reasoning that the Clean Air Act (CAA), when coupled with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) authority and the actions EPA has taken in the last two years to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, displaces federal common law nuisance causes of action for injunctive action addressing climate change.

Keywords: Environmental Law, Constitutional Law, Climate Change, Preemption, Clean Air Act

JEL Classification: K32, K23

Suggested Citation

May, James, Supreme Court Decides that Clean Air Act Displaces Federal Common Law Claims for Climate Change (September 22, 2011). Trends, Vol. 43, No. 1, September/October 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1932425

James May (Contact Author)

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States

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