The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the Southern District of New York’s ruling on Thursday dismissing New York City’s suit against Chevron. The court held a state tort lawsuit could not be brought against Chevron for environmental protection reasons because federal law, not state, applies.
The suit stems from environmental protection changes that the city has been making since Hurricane Sandy. The city launched a $20 billion initiative to make it less vulnerable to Global Warming. The initiative includes “constructing seawalls and other coastal armaments, enlarging and augmenting the 15 City’s storm and wastewater infrastructure, and implementing public-health programs designed to tackle the effects of heatwaves.” They believe that the taxes for the initiative should not be paid by NYC residents but rather by a group of international corporations, including Chevron, which they say are at fault for most global warming issues stemming from oil production.
In 2018, the city had sued in federal court under the Clean Air Act and state law, but that suit was dismissed because the Act did not apply and the state law claims were “displaced by federal law.”
The court concluded that because global warming is a uniquely international issue, international and federal considerations bar the suit from being brought under state law. Furthermore, since the Clean Air Act allows the EPA to regulate emissions, a state law claim is not possible under the act.