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Tags: supreme court | hawaii | energy | climate change

Court Seeks Views of Biden Admin in Climate Cases

By    |   Monday, 10 June 2024 01:11 PM EDT

The Supreme Court requested input from the Biden administration Monday in two cases related to the legal battle between the city of Honolulu and major oil and gas companies.

In an order from the high court, the solicitor general was invited to submit a brief on the federal government's views in two appeals of a Hawaii Supreme Court decision brought by the energy industry.

Justice Samuel Alito did not take part in the consideration of the cases and provided no explanation for his recusal, but CBS News reported it was likely because he owns stock in ConocoPhillips, one of the companies named in the suits.

Similar to other cases filed against U.S. energy companies by state and local governments, the case brought by Honolulu and played out in Hawaii state court alleges that the oil and gas industry deceived and mislead the public about the dangers of their products and the impacts to the environment.

A group of 15 oil and gas companies has petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Hawaii Supreme Court's decision that allowed the Honolulu lawsuit, brought in state court in March 2020, to proceed. The city's government made several claims, including creating a public nuisance and failure to warn the public about the risks of using fossil fuel products.

The city claims that the energy industry has caused property damage and a drop in tax revenue, as a result of less tourism, by contributing to global climate change, which it alleges has caused flooding, erosion, and more frequent and extreme weather events.

The companies argue that greenhouse-gas emissions "flow from billions of daily choices, over more than a century, by governments, companies and individuals about what types of fuels to use, and how to use them." Honolulu is seeking damages for the "cumulative effect of worldwide emissions leading to global climate change," they said.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ultimately gave the go-ahead for the lawsuit to proceed, finding that the Clean Air Act overruled federal common law governing lawsuits that seek damages for interstate pollution.

The state's highest court also found that the city wanted to challenge the sale and promotion of fossil fuel products and was not seeking to regulate emissions thorough the suit, as the gas and oil companies alleged.

"Plaintiffs' state tort law claims do not seek to regulate emissions, and there is thus no 'actual conflict' between Hawaii tort law and the [Clean Air Act]," the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled. "These claims potentially regulate marketing conduct while the CAA regulates pollution."

The energy companies appealed to the Supreme Court to intervene and halt Honolulu's lawsuit, arguing that regulation of interstate pollution is the purview of the federal government.

"Rarely does a case of such extraordinary importance to one of the nation's most vital industries come before this court," lawyers for the companies wrote in a court filing. "Energy companies that produce, sell, and market fossil fuels are facing numerous lawsuits in state courts across the nation seeking billions of dollars in damages for injuries allegedly caused by global climate change."

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The Supreme Court requested input from the Biden administration Monday in two cases related to the legal battle between the city of Honolulu and major oil and gas companies.
supreme court, hawaii, energy, climate change
509
2024-11-10
Monday, 10 June 2024 01:11 PM
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