AG Alan Wilson praises federal court’s dismissal of lawsuit against fossil-fuel producers

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – June 28, 2018 – Attorney General Alan Wilson announced today that a 15-state coalition, including South Carolina and 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 cities of San Francisco and Oakland, 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.”

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the lawsuit. It 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.

“We joined this fight because we could not let two California cities use the court system to set energy policy for the whole country and bypass our elected representatives in Congress,” Attorney General Wilson said. “This lawsuit would have been a disaster for South Carolina cities and job creators because they could have been the targets of future lawsuits simply because they have vehicle fleets or build roads.”

“The court ruling affirms what should be obvious, that San Francisco and Oakland cannot put a damper on economic activity that happens outside of California,” Wilson said.

The dismissal of the lawsuit should be supported even by the most avid of environmentalists, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said.

“This decision had nothing to do with the need to exercise wise stewardship of the environment,” he 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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