• Supreme Court Holds Federal Courts Do Not Have Jurisdiction to Hear Federal Common Law Nuisance Claims Relating to Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • July 11, 2011 | Authors: Jeanne Schubert Barnum; Levi E. Jones
  • Law Firms: Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP - Cherry Hill Office ; Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP - Washington Office
  • The United States Supreme Court, in an 8¿0 decision (Justice Sotomayor did not participate) written by Justice Ginsburg, ruled on June 20, 2011 that federal common law nuisance claims are not available as a means to impose greenhouse gas limits on fossil-fueled power plants. American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut et al. This is a logical result flowing from the Court’s 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, where it held that the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) had the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The American Electric Power decision holds that the regulatory avenue established by the Massachusetts decision is the only avenue available under federal law to pursue limits on greenhouse gas emissions — even though the EPA has not yet used its regulatory power to impose any emissions caps.