Revised Title: Red-State Attorneys General File Lawsuits Against Blue States for Attempting to Enforce Climate Policies Nationwide

Nineteen state attorneys general, headed by Steve Marshall of Alabama, are taking legal action against five other states – California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island – over their litigation to seek billions of dollars in damages from fossil-fuel companies for their alleged involvement in the “climate crisis.” According to the coalition, these lawsuits could jeopardize the livelihoods of Americans and undermine U.S. energy security.

On May 23, a group of red-state attorneys general filed a complaint with the U.S. Supreme Court. According to the complaint, California and its climate allies are posing a threat to our national energy system through tort litigation under their state laws and in their state courts. The attorneys general argue that the defendant states are attempting to impose liability or obtain equitable relief from energy companies for emissions by or in plaintiff states, which they deem unconstitutional and beyond the defendants’ competence to prosecute. Additionally, they claim that the defendant states are targeting protected speech, which further exacerbates the situation.

The push to hold fossil-fuel producers accountable for their emissions is not just a simple cash grab by states looking for a quick payout. It’s a sophisticated scheme to regulate out-of-state emissions and gain control over energy consumption across the country using state tort laws and courts. Rhode Island, for instance, is pursuing compensatory damages for the harmful consequences of greenhouse-gas emissions, regardless of their origin, be it a blue state, Alabama, or anywhere else on the globe. According to the lawsuit, the effects of emissions are uniform, and energy companies must be held liable for their products, no matter where they are sold.

The punishment won’t only affect the companies, but others as well.

In a statement, Alabama’s Marshall expressed his concern about the radical theory proposed by some states. The theory suggests that a gas station in a remote area of Alabama could be held accountable for owing money to the people of Minnesota even for selling a single gallon of gas. Marshall further added that this approach is not acceptable as these states do not have the authority to dictate the country’s energy policies. It is important to allow each state to enforce their policies within their own jurisdiction without overstepping their boundaries.

Marshall emphasized that allowing California and its allies to proceed would endanger affordable energy access for all Americans, thus posing a threat to national security and affecting millions of individuals who are already struggling to pay for basic necessities such as gas and groceries. “We had to file a lawsuit to safeguard the constitutional order and protect the citizens of Alabama,” Marshall concluded.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Constitution plays a significant role in stopping the blue states’ attempt to exert power beyond their borders. The Supreme Court can intervene in this situation by acknowledging that state sovereignty only applies within the state’s boundaries. As pointed out by Marshall, each state must respect the laws of other states, and no state has the right to regulate another state’s conduct. For instance, Alabama cannot dictate the laws that should apply in California, and Hawaii has no jurisdiction to regulate conduct in Indiana.

Despite their efforts, progress has been slow as the Supreme Court has yet to intervene. In April 2023, ExxonMobil and other oil companies appealed to move most of the cases filed against them from state to federal court, but the Supreme Court declined their request. As a result, the cases, starting with Massachusetts, are set to go to trial in a few months and could potentially lead to lengthy litigation that could last for years.

As the nation’s energy needs continue to grow, there are mounting concerns about how to meet them. Unfortunately, the Biden administration, deep-blue jurisdictions, and well-funded foundations are all working together to limit access to affordable and reliable energy.

The transition to green energy, which is being heavily funded by taxpayers, is facing unexpected challenges. Despite the elite-driven agenda, there are consumers who are not interested in electric vehicles, and local communities are resisting wind and solar plantations. There are also threats to grid stability due to the increased reliance on intermittent renewable energy, which is leading to soaring household energy costs. Furthermore, there is a surge in demand for power due to the growing number of energy-hungry data centers driven by artificial intelligence.

To put it differently, the timing of the blue states’ attack on the country’s energy security could not have been more inopportune.

Bonner Russell Cohen holds the position of a senior policy analyst at the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.

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