Attorney General Ken Paxton this week joined an Indiana-led coalition of 11 states in a friend-of-the-court brief asking a federal judge to dismiss a frivolous lawsuit against the energy industry over the alleged effects of climate change.
King County, Washington brought its lawsuit against several of the largest oil companies in the world under a tenuous public nuisance claim that has been tried before and rejected by the United States Supreme Court.
In their friend-of-the-court brief, Attorney General Paxton and his counterparts take issue with using litigation to harass the energy industry, which, they point out, is already regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They also express concern that the states, as utility owners and power plant operators, may be future defendants in similar actions.
“Cheered on by extreme climate change activists, King County wants to use the courts as a political forum to force its radical climate change agenda on the entire nation while killing jobs and driving up energy costs for ordinary, hardworking Americans,” Attorney General Paxton said. “It is the job of state legislatures and Congress to enact environmental regulations for America, not counties and unelected federal judges.”
In asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to dismiss King County’s lawsuit, the multistate coalition of attorneys general maintain that questions of global climate change and its effects are political questions not suited for resolution by any court.
“King County’s objections to fossil fuel are based in public policy, not law, and are thus inappropriate for judicial resolution,” they conclude in their brief.