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Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. BP P.L.C.

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20102
Nos. ELH-18-2357, (D. Md., 06/10/2019) (Hollander, J.)

A federal district court granted the city of Baltimore's motion to remand to state court its climate change case against oil companies. The city alleged it sustained climate change-related injuries from greenhouse gas pollution to which the companies had substantially contributed. The companies argued the city's claims were properly removed to federal court because they raised substantial and disputed federal issues relating to foreign affairs and navigable waters. But the court found the companies' generalized references to foreign policy and assertion that an element of the city's theory of causation might include construction of infrastructure on navigable waters and thus require approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to demonstrate that a federal question was essential to resolving the claims. The companies also argued the city's claims were completely preempted by the foreign affairs doctrine and the CAA. But the court found no congressional intent regarding the preemptive force of the judicially crafted foreign affairs doctrine nor any indication that Congress intended for the CAA to be the exclusive remedy for injuries stemming from air pollution. It therefore remanded the case back to state court.