Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Praises Appeals Court Ruling Reinstating Global Warming Lawsuit

Septmeber 21, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today praised a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit reinstating Connecticut vs. AEP, a lawsuit filed by him and other state attorneys general seeking to compel the nation's biggest greenhouse gas polluters to reduce harmful emissions.

Blumenthal personally argued the case.

Blumenthal said, "This ruling restoring our legal action breathes new life into our fight against greenhouse gas polluters and changes the legal landscape to impose responsibility where it belongs. Our legal fight is against power companies that emit a huge share of our nation's CO2 contamination, but it will set a precedent for all who threaten our planet with such pernicious pollution. This ruling vindicates our tenacious and tireless battle on behalf of a powerful coalition of states and environmental advocates -- a battle that will now have its day in court.

"Our battle is not against the EPA or the federal government -- which we have won already -- but rather against the polluters themselves under federal nuisance law. Our goal is not money damages, but a change in company practices to stem the pollution and safeguard our environment and economy. This lawsuit is comparable to our fight against Big Tobacco, without the money. In the end, this legal crusade can help save lives and our planet from global warming.

"The eventual effects of CO2 pollution will be severe and significant -- increasing asthma and heat-related illnesses, eroding shorelines, floods and other natural disasters, loss of forests and other precious resources. We must act, wisely and quickly, to stem global warming -- and safeguard both our environment and economy. Time is not on our side.

"If the defendants wish to do the right thing voluntarily, so much the better for them and our nation."

The suit targets American Electric Power, the Southern Company, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Xcel Energy Inc. and Cinergy Company. The five power companies own or operate 174 power plants in 20 states that emit some 650 million tons of CO2 each year. That amounts to about a quarter of the American electric industry's global warming emissions, and about 10 percent of the nation's total CO2 pollution.

Blumenthal filed the case in cooperation with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).