Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | October 8, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says U.S. Second Court of Appeals allows electric utility industry to face nuisance suits as a result of releasing hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gases into atmosphere.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently handed down a  honking huge decision that may foreshadow increased implementation of controls designed to limit the amount of greenhouse gases released from fossil fuel electric generating plants.  It is a huge victory for those wanting to limit the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity.

The appellate court determined that two separate groups of plaintiffs could sue coal fired utility plants under federal nuisance law for annually releasing hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.  The two groups of plaintiffs included 8 northeastern states, New York City, and three large land trusts.

In making its 139 page ruling, the Second Circuit overturned the district court, which had erroneously ruled that the case presented non-justiciable political questions.  What a terrible punt on the issue by the district court.  “On further review, the district court is overruled on the play.”  To make matter worse for the utility industry, the appellate court also ruled that TVA was not immune to suit. 

Hello Frankfort and Columbus, we better be moving forward on finding air pollution controls that work to reduce greenhouse emissions if we want to continue to depend almost solely on coal for generating electric power.  The days of coal fired utility plants without such controls are coming to an end.  That is simply a fact, like it or not.  You can either bitch about it or face up to the reality of the situation and FIX IT!!

We need lots of research dollars to develop working air pollution controls.  Can you say University of Kentucky and University of Louisville’s engineering departments working on such projects in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy??

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