Comment: American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut

By David R. Brody

On June 20, 2011, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous and straightforward decision that the Clean Air Act displaces federal common law public nuisance claims against greenhouse gas emitters.  The decision solidifies
the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”)’s primacy, established in Massachusetts v. EPA, as the climate change regulator. In American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut (“AEP”), the Court ruled that displacement occurs when a statute “speaks directly to the question at issue.” This Comment dissects the Court’s decision, analyzes its impact on environmental actions under federal common law, and discusses how it builds on Massachusetts.

Cite as: David R. Brody, Comment, American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, 36 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 297 (2012).

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