Major Energy Companies Ask SCOTUS To Intervene In Hawaii Climate Lawsuit

(Photo by ERIC PIERMONT/AFP via Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Font Size:

Major energy companies asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to reconsider a state court decision allowing Honolulu’s lawsuit against them for alleged climate damages to proceed.

In October, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled against the companies’ effort to dismiss the case on the basis that federal law prevents claims under state law, allowing it to continue to trial. The companies, which include Chevron and Sunoco, urged the Supreme Court Wednesday to intervene, noting “years might pass before another opportunity to address this pressing question comes along.”

“This case presents the Court with its only foreseeable opportunity in the near future to decide a dispositive question that is arising in every climate-change case: whether federal law precludes state-law claims seeking redress for injuries allegedly caused by the effects of interstate and international greenhouse-gas emissions on the global climate,” the petition states. “After the decision below, there is now a clear conflict on that question.”

A Chevron service station is seen on July 9, 2009 in San Rafael, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court previously declined energy companies’ request to consider whether the claims in cases out of Colorado, Maryland, California, Hawaii and Rhode Island should be heard in federal court in April 2023.  (RELATED: Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Handling Lawsuit Against Oil Companies Calls Climate Change An ‘Existential Threat’)

“State court litigation is not a constitutionally permissible means to establish global climate and energy policy,” Theodore J. Boutrous, the attorney for Chevron, said in a statement. “As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in dismissing a similar New York City lawsuit, ‘such a sprawling case is simply beyond the limits of state law.’”

“Honolulu will respond in court on this, and that will be the only comment on the petition,” Matt Gonser, executive director of the city’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Delaware Superior Court held in January that the state’s claims against oil companies for “injuries resulting from out-of-state or global greenhouse emissions and interstate pollution” were preempted by the federal Clean Air Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit likewise found in April 2021 that New York City could not bring claims against energy companies under state law, noting that “global warming is a uniquely international concern that touches upon issues of federalism and foreign policy.”

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled on Feb.7 that there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public, finding that the “spirit of Aloha clashes with a federally-mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities.”

Honolulu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact