Washington (AP) - In a new case about climate change, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal from electric utilities that are trying to short-circuit an effort by states to force cuts in power plant emissions.
The court agreed Monday to consider ending a federal lawsuit by eight states,
A federal judge initially threw out the case, but the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
The lawsuit says carbon dioxide is one of the chief causes of global warming. The greenhouse gas is produced when coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels burn.
Similar lawsuits are pending in
The American Electric Power Co. and the other utilities do not want courts getting involved in the issue. The companies argue that only the Environmental Protection Agency can set emissions standards.
The other utilities are Cinergy Co., Southern Co. Inc. of Georgia, Xcel Energy Inc. of
The Obama administration, representing the TVA, urged a middle course that would have avoided a full-blown hearing at the high court.
The administration angered environmental groups with its position that the states should not be allowed to proceed in federal court because, among other reasons, EPA already has begun to take actions to compel cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.
EPA regulation is a more efficient process than a federal lawsuit, the administration said.
The case will be argued in the spring.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was on the 2nd Circuit panel that heard the case, is not taking part in the Supreme Court's consideration of the issue.
The states in the lawsuit are:
The case is American Electric Power Co. v.