[Environmental Business Journal Weekly News Update]:NYC and Eight States Sue to Impose CO2 Emission Controls
New York City and the states of California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin have filed suit under federal public nuisance law against what they claim are the largest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the United States, seeking curbs on those emissions. The lawsuit claims that American Electric Power Co., the Southern Company; Tennessee Valley Authority, Xcel Energy Inc., and Cinergy Corp. together own or operate 174 fossil-fuel-burning power plants in 20 states that emit some 650-million tons of CO2 each year. ‘To protect our residents and our natural resources, we‰re suing the power companies responsible for the most carbon dioxide pollution, demanding that they make pollution reductions that are substantial and readily achievable,’ said New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey. Responding to the lawsuit, Edison Electric Institute President Thomas Kuhn pointed out that ‘U.S. power companies lead the world in taking voluntary actions to address concerns about climate change’ and called for the rapid dismissal of the lawsuit.
The federal public nuisance law, eh? I bet that can come in handy in all sorts of ways. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve always considered pollution a bit of a nuisance. And global climate change would probably be annoying too!
But seriously: this is another milestone in the rising pressure on companies to do the right thing — not only because it’s the right thing, but because of potentially significant risk & reward impacts on market access and sdhare value. (See ‘Busting their assets,’ below.)
If you’re a CFO, perhaps we should talk. (I you have a CFO, perhaps you should make sure they’re on top of this emerging tectonic shift in the rules of the game.

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