WASHINGTON, DC - Leading congressional energy and environmental policymakers today filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in American Electric Power Company, et al. v. State of Connecticut, et al. to assert the sole prerogative and responsibility of the legislative and executive branches - not the judiciary - to address the environmental and economic issues of federal climate change policy. The brief, filed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK), argues strongly against the notion that a federal court is empowered or equipped to establish carbon dioxide emissions standards in response to federal common law nuisance claims.
"This case involves political and public policy matters that are being resolved by the Legislative and Executive branches of government," wrote Upton, Whitfield, and Inhofe. "These public policy determinations are necessarily within the purview of the Congress and the Executive branch, not the Judicial branch, because of the complexity and significance of the environmental and economic issues that they raise."
The brief details actions taken by Congress and numerous federal agencies related to energy and environmental climate change policy since enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1963. The clear legislative and executive record on these issues, coupled with their complexity and significance, proves that this case presents a political question that cannot be resolved by the judicial branch.
"[C]ourts are not equipped to make judgments about the appropriate emissions standards for utilities located throughout the country. Judicial establishment of such standards would violate decades of Supreme Court precedent and unconstitutionally interfere with Congressional and Executive branch efforts to address climate change-related matters," the members wrote.