696 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2012), 09-17490, Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.

Docket Nº:09-17490.
Citation:696 F.3d 849
Opinion Judge:THOMAS, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:NATIVE VILLAGE OF KIVALINA; City of Kivalina, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION; BP P.L.C.; BP America, Inc.; BP Products North America, Inc.; Chevron Corporation; Chevron U.S.A., Inc.; ConocoPhillips Company; Royal Dutch Shell PLC; Shell Oil Company; Peabody Energy Corporation; The AES Corporation; American Electric Power Company, I
Attorney:Matthew F. Pawa (argued), Law Offices of Matthew F. Pawa PC, Newton Centre, MA; Brent Newell, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, San Francisco, CA; Steve W. Berman, Babara Mahoney, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Seattle, WA; Reed R. Kathrein, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Berkeley,...
Judge Panel:Before: SIDNEY R. THOMAS and RICHARD R. CLIFTON, Circuit Judges, and PHILIP M. PRO, District Judge.[*] Opinion by Judge THOMAS; Concurrence by Judge PRO. PRO, District Judge, concurring:
Case Date:September 21, 2012
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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696 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2012)

NATIVE VILLAGE OF KIVALINA; City of Kivalina, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION; BP P.L.C.; BP America, Inc.; BP Products North America, Inc.; Chevron Corporation; Chevron U.S.A., Inc.; ConocoPhillips Company; Royal Dutch Shell PLC; Shell Oil Company; Peabody Energy Corporation; The AES Corporation; American Electric Power Company, Inc.; American Electric Power Services Corporation; Duke Energy Corporation; DTE Energy Company; Edison International; MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company; Pinnacle West Capital Corporation; The Southern Company; Dynegy Holdings, Inc.; Xcel Energy, Inc.; Genon Energy, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 09-17490.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

September 21, 2012

Argued and Submitted Nov. 28, 2011.

Page 850

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Matthew F. Pawa (argued), Law Offices of Matthew F. Pawa PC, Newton Centre, MA; Brent Newell, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, San Francisco, CA; Steve W. Berman, Babara Mahoney, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Seattle, WA; Reed R. Kathrein, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Berkeley, CA; Gary E. Mason, Khushi Desai, The Mason Law Firm, Washington, D.C.; Heather Kendall-Miller, Native AmericanRights Fund, Anchorage, AK; Dennis Reich, Reich & Binstock, Houston, TX; Christopher A. Seeger, Stephen A. Weiss, James A. O'Brien, Seeger Weiss LLP, New York, NY; Stephen D. Susman, H. Lee Godfrey, Eric J. Mayer, Susman Godfrey LLP, Houston, TX; Terrell W. Oxford, Susman Godfrey LLP, Dallas, TX; Marc M. Seltzer, Susman Godfrey, LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Drew D. Hansen, Susman Godfrey LLP, Seattle, WA, for the appellants-plaintiffs.

Jerome C. Roth, Scott W. Coyle, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, San Francisco, CA; Ronald L. Olson, Daniel P. Collins, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for appellee-defendant Shell Oil Company.

Jonathan D. Hacker, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Washington, DC; John F. Daum, O'Melveny & Myers, Los Angeles, CA, for appellee-defendant ExxonMobil Corporation.

Andrew B. Clubok, Jeffrey Bossert Clark, Susan E. Engel, Joseph Cascio, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Washington, DC, for appellee-defendant ConocoPhillips Company.

Robert Meaows, Tracie J. Renfroe, Jonathan L. Marsh, King & Spalding LLP, Houston, TX; Lisa Kobialka, King & Spalding LLP, Redwood City, CA, for appellees-defendants Chevron Corporation and Chevron U.S.A., Inc.

Matthew Heartney, Arnold & Porter LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Philip Curtis, Arnold & Porter LLP, New York, NY, for appellees-defendants BP America, Inc., and BP Products North America, Inc.

Kevin P. O'Brien, Crowell & Morning LLP, San Francisco, CA; Kathleen Taylor Sooy, Scott L. Winkelman, Tracy A. Roman, Crowell & Morning LLP, Washington, DC, for appellee-defendant Peabody Energy Corporation.

William A. Norris, Rex Heinke, Richard K. Welsh, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Paul E. Gutermann, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington, DC, for appellee-defendant The AES Corporation.

Peter D. Keisler, David T. Buente, Jr., Quin M. Sorenson, Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, DC; Samuel R. Miller, Sidley

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Austin LLP, San Francisco, California, for defendants-appellees American Electric Power Company; American Electric Power Service Corporation; and Duke Energy Corporation.

Shawn Patrick Regan, Hunton & Williams LLP, New York, NY; F. William Brownell, Norman W. Fichthorn, Allison D. Wood, Hunton & Williams LLP, Washington, D.C.; Belynda B. Reck, Hunton & Williams LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for appellees-defendants DTE Energy Company; Edison International; MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company; Pinnacle West Capital Corporation; Southern Company.

Thomas A. Rector, Jones Day, San Francisco, CA; Thomas E. Fennell, Michael L. Rice, Jones Day, Dallas, TX; Kevin P. Holewinski, Jones Day, Washington, D.C., for appellee-defendant Xcel Energy, Inc.

Alexandra Walsh, Jeremy Levin, Baker Botts LLP, Washington, D.C., for appellee-defendant Dynegy Holdings, Inc; Reliant Energy, Inc.

Richard O. Faulk, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, Houston, TX, for amici American Chemistry Council, Public Nuisance Fairness Coalition, American Coatings Association, and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Sean H. Donahue, Sean H. Donahue Law Office, Washington, DC; Stephen F. Hinchman, West Bath, ME, for amicus Solar Industry.

Victor E. Schwartz, Phil Goldberg, Christopher E. Appel, Shook, Hardy, & Bacon, LLP, Washington, DC; James A. Henderson, Jr., Frank B. Ingersoll, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY, for amici National Association of Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Small Business Legal Center, and American Tort Reform Association.

Tristan L. Duncan, William F. Northrip, Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, Kansas City, MO; Richard H. Fallon, Jr. Cambridge, MA, for amicus Natso, Inc.

Ellen J. Gleberman, The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, Inc., Arlington, VA; Raymond B. Ludwiszewski, Charles H. Haake, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Washington, D.C., for amicus The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers.

Earl L. Hagstrom, Frederick D. Baker, Kelly Savage Day, Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP, San Francisco, CA, for amici Congressman Lamar Smith and Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.

John C. Eastman, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Chapman University School of Law, Orange, CA; Anthony T. Caso, Law Office of Anthony T. Caso, Sacramento, CA, for amicus Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.

Daniel J. Popeo, Cory L. Andrews, Washington Legal Foundation, Washington, D.C.; Douglas M. Halsey, David P. Draigh, White & Case LLP, Miami, FL, for amicus Washington Legal Foundation.

R.S. Radford, Damien M. Schiff, Pacific Legal Foundation, Sacramento, CA, for amicus Pacific Legal Foundation.

Robin C. Conrad, Amar D. Sarwal, National Chamber Litigation Center, Washington, D.C.; Gregory G. Garre, Richard P. Bress, Gabriel K. Bell, Latham & Watkins LLP, Washington, DC, for amicus The Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Saundra B. Armstrong, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. 4:08-cv-01138-SBA.

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Before: SIDNEY R. THOMAS and RICHARD R. CLIFTON, Circuit Judges, and PHILIP M. PRO, District Judge.[*]

Opinion by Judge THOMAS; Concurrence by Judge PRO.

OPINION

THOMAS, Circuit Judge:

The Native Village of Kivalina and the City of Kivalina (collectively " Kivalina" ) appeal the district court's dismissal of their action for damages against multiple oil, energy, and utility companies (collectively " Energy Producers" ).1 Kivalina alleges that massive greenhouse gas emissions emitted by the Energy Producers have resulted in global warming, which, in turn, has severely eroded the land where the City of Kivalina sits and threatens it with imminent destruction. Kivalina seeks damages under a federal common law claim of public nuisance.

The question before us is whether the Clean Air Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency (" EPA" ) action that the Act authorizes, displaces Kivalina's claims. We hold that it does.

I

The City of Kivalina sits on the tip of a six-mile barrier reef on the northwest coast of Alaska, approximately seventy miles north of the Arctic Circle. The city, which was incorporated as a unified municipality under Alaska state law in 1969, has long been home to members of the Village of Kivalina, a self-governing, federally recognized tribe of Inupiat Native Alaskans. The City of Kivalina has a population of approximately four hundred residents, ninety-seven percent of whom are Alaska Natives.

Kivalina's survival has been threatened by erosion resulting from wave action and sea storms for several decades. See City of Kivalina, Alaska: Local Hazards Mitigation Plan, Resolution 07-11 (Nov. 9, 2007). The villagers of Kivalina depend on the sea ice that forms on their coastline in the fall, winter, and spring each year to shield them from powerful coastal storms. But in recent years, the sea ice has formed later in the year, attached later than usual, broken up earlier than expected, and has been thinner and less extensive in nature. As a result, Kivalina has been heavily impacted by storm waves and surges that are destroying the land where it sits. Massive erosion and the possibility of future storms threaten buildings and critical infrastructure in the city with imminent devastation. If the village is not relocated, it may soon cease to exist.2

Kivalina attributes the impending destruction of its land to the effects of global

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warming, which it alleges results in part from emissions of large quantities of greenhouse gases by the Energy Producers. Kivalina describes global warming as occurring through the build-up of carbon dioxide and methane (commonly referred to as " greenhouse gases" ) that trap atmospheric heat and thereby increase the temperature of the planet. As the planet heats, the oceans become less adept at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The increase in surface temperature also causes seawater to expand. Finally, sea levels rise due to elevated temperatures on Earth, which cause the melting of ice caps and glaciers. Kivalina contends that these events are destroying its land by melting the arctic sea ice that formerly protected the village from winter storms.

Kivalina filed this action against the Energy Producers, both individually and collectively, in District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that the Energy Producers, as substantial...

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