Wednesday, June 29, 2011

AEP v. Connecticut: The Decision and its Implications BNA Webinar

On June 20, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated ruling in American Electric Power Co., Inc., et al. v. Connecticut (AEP), the first climate change nuisance lawsuit to reach the high court. In an opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that the Clean Air Act and Environmental Protection Agency regulations authorized by the act displace the federal common law cause of action. Reversing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruling, the high court held federal common law nuisance claims cannot be brought against utilities for their greenhouse gas emissions. The Second Circuit had allowed eight states, New York City, and three land trusts to move forward with claims against the utility company defendants alleging they have created a public nuisance by contributing to global warming.

Significantly, the Supreme Court split 4-4 on the issue of whether the petitioners demonstrated they had standing to bring the claim and affirmed the Second Circuit's ruling that they did. The Supreme Court did not address issues raised by petitioners at oral argument and in briefing regarding the political doctrine defense. It remanded the case for consideration of plaintiffs’ state law nuisance claim, which was not before the court on this appeal. The high court suggested that on remand the court should consider whether the state law cause of action is preempted. Clearly, the ruling in AEP will have broad implications for U.S. industries that emit greenhouse gases.

This 90-minute webinar, a second in a series, featuring Christina M. Carroll , J. Randolph Evans, and Joanne Zimolzak of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, is designed to help attendees:

•Become knowledgeable about the key points raised and outcomes resulting from the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the AEP case
•Analyze the impact and implications of the standing holding in the AEP case
•Understand how ongoing litigation may be impacted by the decision, including the effect on the outcome of a related case, Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.
•Consider the interrelationships between the AEP decision and executive and legislative branch greenhouse gas emission policies, and
•Understand what the AEP case addressed and what questions remain

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