Home » Articles » Volume 45 » Issue 3 » Court Opinions » Ninth Circuit » Wash. Envtl. Council v. Bellon (No. 12-35323, 2013)


Wash. Envtl. Council v. Bellon (No. 12-35323, 2013)


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Summary [1]

Vacating the district court’s judgment, the panel held that plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue a citizen suit seeking to compel the Washington State Department of Ecology and other regional agencies to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s five oil refineries under the Clean Air Act.

The panel assumed without deciding that the plaintiff non-profit conservation groups showed the injury in fact required to establish Article III standing by submitting their members’ declarations attesting to specific aesthetic and recreational injuries allegedly resulting from the agencies’ failure to control greenhouse gas emissions. Nonetheless, the plaintiffs failed to satisfy the causality and redressability requirements for standing.

The panel held that the chain of causality between the defendants’ alleged misconduct and the plaintiffs’ specific, localized injuries was too attenuated.

The panel also held that the plaintiffs did not show that their injuries would be redressed by a court order requiring the defendants to control greenhouse gas emissions from the oil refineries.

The panel vacated the district court’s order on the parties’ dispositive motions and remanded to the district court with instructions that the action be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader.
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