Statement from American Tradition Institute Environmental Law Center director Dr. David Schnare on the June 20th Supreme Court decision in American Electric Power v. Connecticut:


Monday, June 20, 2011
Contact: Paul Chesser, executive director,


From Dr. David Schnare, Esq.:
“Today the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that federal common law nuisance claims cannot be brought against utilities for their greenhouse gas emissions. (American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, U.S., No. 10-174, 6/20/11). It wasn’t a surprise to any competent lawyer. Nor was this any kind of big win for those skeptical of climate change alarmism. But, this decision does signal one important point.

“For the past decade – and perhaps the past two – the big, angry, activist environmental law consortium has focused on climate change rather than actual environmentalism. There’s a reason for that. The environmental regulatory system had done as much as can be done without putting the economy into the waste bin, although some argue persuasively they’ve nearly done that too.  The point is, there isn’t much more traditional clean air, clean water, safe waste regulation the economy can withstand. And, there isn’t any environmental issue the federal regulatory system hasn’t covered.

“The Supreme Court, in a fairly crisp reminder, told Big Green to live with what you get from the Executive Branch. It’s also a reminder that if you think the White House and EPA have gone too far, don’t look for help from the Courts.  If you change the personnel in the White House and EPA, you’ll get an opportunity next year.”


The Wall Street Journal, as always summed up the case in “…And the Climate Tort Cashiered”. Here is the important point from the editors to recall before you celebrate this decision: “We’d go further and point out that Congress never granted the Environmental Protection Agency the power to regulate CO2. The EPA has merely asserted that power with an assist from the pure policy invention of the Court itself in 2006’s 5-4 Mass. v. EPA ruling. Still, the fact that every Justice rejected the new climate tort theory, and that the opinion was delivered by the most liberal Justice, shows how abusive it really was.”