Allison Fischman, Case Comment: Preserving Legal Avenues For Climate Justice In Florida Post-American Electric Power

64 Fla. L. Rev. 295 (2012)| | |

In American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut (AEP), the U.S. Supreme Court held that “the Clean Air Act and the EPA actions it authorizes displace any federal common law right to seek abatement of carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants,” foreclosing the use of federal common law rights of action in climate change litigation. The Court left unanswered the question of whether the Clean Air Act also displaces state common law tort actions, suggesting that state-based claims such as public nuisance could play some part in future climate change litigation. The opinion, however, conveys the Court’s preference to confine climate change litigation to agency- and regulatory-focused actions, as opposed to common law tort actions. After briefly summarizing the case, this Comment considers the implications of that preference with regard to the “climate vulnerable”-populations that are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change-with a focus on Florida.

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