Supreme Court to hear climate suit brought by RI, other states

WASHINGTON – In a new case about climate change, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal from electric utilities that are trying to short-circuit an effort by Rhode Island and other states to force cuts in power plant emissions.

The court agreed today to consider ending a federal lawsuit by eight states, New York City and others that accuse the power companies of being among the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. The suit asks a federal judge to order reductions in the emissions in plants in 20 states.

A federal judge initially threw out the case, but the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said it could continue.

The lawsuit says carbon dioxide is one of the chief causes of global warming.

Similar lawsuits are pending in California and North Carolina. The American Electric Power Co. and the other utilities do not want courts getting involved in the issue. The companies argue that only the Environmental Protection Agency can set emissions standards.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.