Archive for the ‘Tort’ Category

Wind developers hit headwinds

October 21, 2009

I’ve posted before about wind developers battling over siting issues and desalination projects struggling with opposition from environmentalists.  Today we have two more stories about two more wind projects confronting litigation filed by opponents who claim the projects’ side effects need to be taken into consideration.

One involves a 124-turbine project and a bat biologist who argues the project violates the Endangered Species Act.

The other involves a Canadian farmer seeking court review of Ontario’s Green Energy Act.  He reportedly claims the five turbines to be built near his home under the Act would cause noise levels and low-frequency sound sufficient to produce health problems to his family.  His case is said to be backed by the University of Western Ontario’s dean of medicine who studied negative health effects of 100 Ontario residents who live near wind turbines.

Credible and substantive salesmanship is usually necessary to sell even the best projects to their host communities.

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Greenhouse gasses: Political question or public nuisance?

October 19, 2009

Following closely on the heels of two high-profile reversals from the 2nd and 5th Circuits finding subject matter jurisdiction over public nuisance actions for damage allegedly caused by greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. District Judge Saundra Armstrong did what the district courts in those two prior actions did by dismissing the Village of Kivalina’s federal common law claim for nuisance, holding that her court lacked jurisdiction on the basis of political question and lack of standing.  In doing so, Judge Armstrong set the case up for a 9th Circuit appeal and further percolation among the circuits as to the question of whether climate change caused by greenhouse gasses is a justiciable public nuisance, or a non-justiciable political question.  The 2nd and 5th Circuits have now found justiciable public nuisances.

Proponents of GHG litigation argue that a similar outcome at the 9th Circuit would accelerate adoption of GHG-reducing technologies in electricity generation and transmission.

Here’s the current round up:

Second Circuit:    Connecticut v. American Electric Power Co.View the Complaint, the S.D.N.Y. Order granting defendants’ motion to dismiss, and the 2nd Circuit’s Sept. 21, 2009 opinion reversing the district court.

Fifth Circuit:   Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc. —  View the Third Amended Class Action Complaint filed in the Southern District of Mississipi, the district court’s order granting defendants’ motion to dismiss, and the 5th Circuit’s Oct. 16, 2009 opinion reversing the district court.

Ninth Circuit:  Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil — View the Complaint and Judge Armstrong’s Order dismissing the action.

Ninth Circuit:  California v. General Motors — View the Complaint and Judge Martin Jenkins’ Order granting defendants’ motion to dismiss.  The case was originally appealed to the 9th Circuit but the appeal was withdrawn .