This is a brief review of recent significant environmental and administrative law rulings and developments. With the change in presidential administrations, the fate of at least some of the newly promulgated rules is uncertain.
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
BP PLC v. City and County of Baltimore
On January 19, 2021, the Court heard oral argument in BP PLC v. City and County of Baltimore. The respondents filed a Greenhous Gas Climate Change lawsuit in state court, alleging that BP, like other energy companies, is liable for significant damage caused by the sale and promotion of petroleum products while knowing that the use of these products and the resulting release of greenhouse gases damages the environment and public property. Several similar lawsuits have been filed in state courts, pleading common law violations as well as trespass and nuisance law violations The energy companies have tried, unsuccessfully to date, to remove these cases to federal court. The petitioners argue that the federal removal statutes allow the federal courts of appeal to review the lower court’s remand, thus opening the possibility that some of the issues presented in these cases can be tried in federal court, presumably a friendlier forum. A decision on this procedural issue should be rendered in a few months.