Federal judge throws out multistate suit against CO2-spewing utilities

A U.S. federal judge yesterday delivered a big blow to eight states that had been pushing for power plants to cut their carbon dioxide emissions in an effort to stave off global warming. A coalition of the states plus New York City had filed suit against five utility companies that together own 174 fossil fuel-burning power plants, claiming that the five firms are the nation’s biggest CO2 polluters and should be forced to curb their emissions. U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska dismissed the case, saying the plaintiffs were asking the court to set broad environmental policies with implications for the economy, national security, and foreign policy, matters that “are consigned to the political branches that are accountable to the people, not to the judiciary.” The states promised to appeal. “This ruling, if it stands, threatens to undermine and erode our power as states to hold accountable out-of-state polluters who foul our air,” said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.