October 19, 2005

States, NYC appeal global warming dismissal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Eight states and the city of New York
have appealed last month's dismissal of their global warming
lawsuit against five of the largest U.S. utilities.

The states originally filed suit against American Electric
Power Co. Inc., Southern Co., Xcel Energy Inc., Cinergy Corp.
and the Tennessee Valley Authority public power system in July
2004, arguing that greenhouse gas emissions from their plants
were a public nuisance and would cause irreparable harm to

They asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York to force the utilities to cut their
carbon-dioxide emissions.

However, Judge Loretta Preska dismissed the suit, saying
the issue was a political question for Congress or the
President to decide, not the judiciary.

The states and New York City submitted a notice of appeal
on September 20, notifying the court that they were appealing
the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

"The district court unfortunately took an erroneously
narrow view of its authority, and our hope is that the federal
courts will hold these polluting plants accountable for the
harm they do to our health and environment," said Connecticut
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in an interview.

"We're going to continue to fight as long and as hard as is
necessary to protect our citizens," he said.

The utilities are five of the largest carbon dioxide
emitters in the United States. Around 40 percent of U.S. carbon
dioxide emissions come from fossil-fueled power plants.

American Electric Power spokesman Pat Hemlepp said the
company believes that Judge Preska made the appropriate
decision in dismissing the case.

"This is not something to be decided by the courts -- this
is purely a policy decision that belongs with elected
officials," Hemlepp said. "We're confident that the appeal will
show the same thing."

Scientists believe that greenhouse gases such as carbon
dioxide warm the Earth by trapping solar heat in the
atmosphere, which could have catastrophic consequences,
including raising sea levels and strengthening extreme weather
like hurricanes.