USA: Alaskan village loses appeal in case against BP & other energy firms over emissions that allegedly caused climate change, contributed to erosion of its land

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24 September 2012

Alaskan village loses appeal in global warming case against oil giants [USA]

Author: Leigh Jones, National Law Journal [USA]

Residents of an Alaskan village threatened by an eroding coastline have lost an appeal in a closely watched case against some of the biggest oil producers in the world. The U.S. Court of Appeals...found that the village of Kivalina could not recover money damages from ExxonMobil..., BP..., Chevron...and other energy companies [including ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, AES, Duke Energy, and Edison International] for greenhouse gas emissions that the plaintiffs said threaten the destruction of their northwest Alaskan coastal homes...In reaching its decision, the court relied on a case decided last year by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Connecticut v. American Electric Power...the justices held that the Clean Air Act, instead of nuisance claims, provided a way to stop the energy companies from emitting greenhouse gases. The Ninth Circuit panel ruled similarly, even though the Kivalina plaintiffs sought monetary damages as opposed to the injunction at issue in the Supreme Court case.

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21 September 2012

[PDF] Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation, et al. - Opinion

Author: US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

The Native Village of Kivalina and the City of Kivalina (collectively “Kivalina”) appeal the district court’s dismissal of their action for damages against multiple oil, energy, and utility companies (collectively “Energy Producers”). Kivalina alleges that massive greenhouse gas emissions emitted by the Energy Producers have resulted in global warming, which, in turn, has severely eroded the land where the City of Kivalina sits and threatens it with imminent destruction. Kivalina seeks damages under a federal common law claim of public nuisance. The question before us is whether the Clean Air Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) action that the Act authorizes, displaces Kivalina’s claims. We hold that it does.

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