Today’s Forecast: More Climate-related Litigation on the Horizon

We posted recently about the revival of EPA’s NSR enforcement program. Now, yet another shoe has dropped. The Center for Biological Diversity has announced the creation of the Climate Law Institute, the purpose of which is to use citizen law suits under existing laws to advance regulations intended to address climate change. The press release states that the Institute has $17 million in funding with which to pursue its mission.  

While that mission will focus on climate change, as its name implies, it will not be limited to litigation under the Clean Air Act. It was the CBD which led the litigation resulting in the listing of the Polar Bear under the Endangered Species Act.  The Institute indicates that, in addition to the Clean Air Act, the ESA, NEPA, and the Clean Water Act may all be utilized as part of its overall litigation strategy.  

Among other specific targets identified in the press release, the Institute states that it aims to prevent the construction of any new coal-fired power plants and to phase out existing coal plants as quickly as possible.

Unless EPA moves very quickly across a number of fronts – which may well happen – it looks as though we’re going to see a lot of climate-related litigation in the near future.

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