OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter commended a federal judge for dismissing a lawsuit filed by two California cities targeting numerous energy and manufacturing companies over creating a public nuisance.
In the lawsuit, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland claimed that the companies make and sell products that when combusted, create a “public nuisance.” The cities sought payment from the companies for the all the hypothetical future impacts of climate change.
Attorney General Hunter, who filed a brief in support of the motion to dismiss in April with 14 other attorneys general, applauded the ruling by the judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
“Baseless lawsuits such as this one threaten
s the growth of our state’s crucial energy industry and the jobs of the one in every six Oklahomans it employs,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Courtrooms are not the proper place for the global debate on climate change. I encourage other states that have filed similar lawsuits to look at this ruling carefully and realize their litigation is likely to meet the same fate. These states should focus on meaningful solutions, rather than lining the pockets of trial attorneys.
“I remain committed to standing up for the state’s top economic driver against burdensome overreach to ensure long-term industry success.”
In dismissing the case, Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California concluded, while both sides of the issue accept the science behind global warming, the problem should be solved on a more vast scale than can be supplied by the courts. He favored solutions by the other branches of government.
“The court will stay its hand in favor of solutions by the legislative and executive branches,” Judge Alsup wrote.
This loss for California comes on the heels of a recent Supreme Court decision striking down California’s speech laws for crisis pregnancy centers that counsel women about alternatives to abortion. Attorney General Hunter filed a brief urging that the California laws be invalidated, and the Supreme Court agreed. In concurrence with the decision, Justice Kennedy took California to task, warning about “how relentless authoritarian regimes are in their attempts to stifle free speech.”
In addition to Oklahoma, the brief was joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
To read the brief, click here.
To read the order dismissing the lawsuit, click here.