In the Courts

Red States Ask Supreme Court To Stop Blue States From Forcing Climate Agenda On Rest Of Country

Nineteen Republican state attorneys general hit five Democrat-controlled states with a legal challenge alleging that the blue states are illegally attempting to impose aggressive climate policies on the rest of the country.

The coalition of red states filed the challenge with the Supreme Court on Wednesday, alleging that the five blue states — California, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Minnesota — are trying to advance an anti-fossil fuel agenda for the entire country via tools like climate nuisance lawsuits against oil companies. The coalition of red states requested that the Supreme Court step in to determine whether these Democrat-controlled states can effectively interfere in other states’ energy policy.

“Plaintiff States and their citizens rely on traditional energy products every day,” the complaint says. “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.”

The coalition of plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to examine the complaint in the context of the Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government the ability to address matters of interstate commerce that are beyond the jurisdiction of one state or another. The states that filed the complaint include Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

“In essence, Defendant 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.”

The complaint references climate nuisance lawsuits that have been pursued by Minnesota and the other defendant states as evidence that the five blue states are trying to alter the national energy landscape by seeking to extract large settlements from traditional energy companies. In many instances, the third-party law firms that are helping prosecutors bring these tort cases stand to reap large paydays if the energy companies being sued decide to settle.

“Defendant States assert the power to dictate the future of the American energy industry,” states the complaint. “They hope to do so not by influencing federal legislation or by petitioning federal agencies, but by imposing ruinous liability and coercive remedies on energy companies through state tort actions governed by state law in state court.”

Democratic New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin expressed confidence that the Supreme Court will not side against him and described the red states’ complaint as politically-motivated.

“We are proud to stand up for New Jersey residents and consumers in combating the deception the largest oil and gas companies engaged in for decades. It’s a shame that other states are trying to hamstring our efforts to protect New Jerseyans under New Jersey law,” Platkin said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “But we are confident the Supreme Court will see this for the desperate stunt that it is, and deny their motion. In any event, our important work continues.”

Democratic Connecticut Attorney General Chris Tong issued a statement on Wednesday deriding the complaint filed against his state.

“This must be a fake lawsuit filed in the Land of Make Believe. I live and work in the real world, where I am focused on actual threats — like the climate crisis — to the health and safety of the people of Connecticut,” Tong said. “This is pure partisan political theater, and it will not distract or deter us from fighting for Connecticut consumers, families and our environment.”

The offices of Democratic Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Democratic Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha and Democratic California Attorney General Rob Bonta did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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Nick Pope

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