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Rhode Island v. Chevron Corp.

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20126
Nos. 18-395 WES, (D.R.I., 07/22/2019) (Smith, J.)

A district court granted Rhode Island's motion to remand to state court a challenge against energy companies for contributing to climate change. The state argued its challenge should be removed back to state, where it was initially brought, to seek relief for the damage the companies had and would inflict upon nonfederal property and natural resources in Rhode Island. The companies argued that the CAA completely preempted the state's claims. But the court found that the CAA went so far out of its way to preserve state prerogatives that it could not be said to be an expression of Congress' "extraordinary preemption power" to convert state law into federal law claims. The companies also argued that the state hid a federal issue within their state law claims that should be heard by a federal court. But the court found that the state's claims were thoroughly state law claims—the rights, duties, and rules of decision implicated by the state's complaint were all supplied by state law without reference to anything federal. It therefore granted the state's motion to remand.