July 19, 2024
Republican AGs Sue to Block Five Blue States’ Energy Litigation

Republican AGs Sue to Block Five Blue States’ Energy Litigation

(Bethany Blankley, The Center Square) – Nineteen Republican attorneys general filed a Bill of Complaint with the U.S. Supreme Court, taking legal action against five Democratic-led states.

They argue these five Democratic-led state governments have “brought unprecedented litigation against the nation’s most vital energy companies for alleged ‘climate crisis,’ and they demand billions of dollars in damages. As litigation proceeds in their state courts, California and the other states threatened to impose ruinous penalties and coercive remedies that would affect energy and fuel consumption and production across the country.”

The Republican coalition raises constitutional issues “especially with California’s tactics” and asks the Supreme Court to intervene.

The coalition, led by Alabama, includes Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

They are taking action against California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey and Rhode Island, they argue, because of state tort actions these states have taken under their state laws in their state courts that will impact the economies of the 19 states suing. Because the Democratic-led states are using state law to “dictate interstate energy policy,” the Republican AGs asked the Supreme Court to intervene.

“The theory advanced by these states is truly radical: A small gas station in rural Alabama could owe money to the people of Minnesota simply for selling a gallon of gas,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said. “The customer might even be liable too. These states are welcome to enforce their preferred policies within their jurisdiction, but they do not have authority to dictate our national energy policy. If the Supreme Court lets them continue, California and its allies will imperil access to affordable energy for every American. That would threaten our national security and harm millions of Americans already struggling to pay for gas and groceries. To protect Alabama citizens and our constitutional order, we had no choice but to sue.”

The Democratic-led states “want a global carbon tax on the traditional energy industry,” the complaint states. “Citing fears of a climate catastrophe, they seek massive penalties, disgorgement, and injunctive relief against energy producers based on out-of-state conduct with out-of-state effects. … If Defendant States are right about the substance and reach of state law, their actions imperil access to affordable energy everywhere and inculpate every State and indeed every person on the planet. Consequently, Defendant States threaten not only our system of federalism and equal sovereignty among States, but our basic way of life.”

The coalition’s filing with the high court includes a motion, complaint, and brief, which cite examples of how oil, natural gas, and coal “are essential for American prosperity.” They also emphasize the constitutional system of federalism that prevents one state from exerting more power over another. 

It also notes that the Supreme Court has “consistently held that lawsuits over interstate air (and water) pollution, including emissions from the use of oil and gas, must be decided under federal law. Application of federal law to these fundamentally interstate matters prevents overreaching States from weaponizing their laws to impose their policy agendas on sister States and ensures that national policy remains sensitive to the interests of the whole Nation.”

The AGs argue the Democratic states’ actions “exceed state authority, flout the horizontal separation of powers, usurp federal authority over a federal issue, and violate the prohibition on extraterritorial regulation embodied in the Commerce Clause. Plaintiff States and their citizens rely on traditional energy products every day. The assertion that Defendant States can regulate, tax, and enjoin the promotion, production, and use of such products beyond their borders—but outside the purview of federal law—threatens profound injury.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said they were filing the lawsuit “to protect states from unconstitutional lawsuits filed by Green New Deal states targeting interstate emissions.” 

She also took aim at California, saying, “California has destroyed itself with reckless and costly Green New Deal policies that have weakened their state and put them on the brink of financial ruin, and I refuse to allow California, and other states like it, to tell Florida how to govern itself.”

The AGs are asking the Supreme Court to accept their motion and ultimately declare unconstitutional and enjoin any attempts by Democratic led states to impose their energy policies on other states. 


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