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Document Type

Comments

Abstract

In Washington Environmental Council v. Bellon, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit addressed the issue of Article III standing with respect to environmental organizations filing suit under the Clean Air Act. The organizations alleged that Washington state agencies were required to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions of five oil refineries, and that the agencies’ failure to do so caused particularized injuries to plaintiffs’ health and recreational enjoyment because of the impacts of those greenhouse gas emissions on climate change. Applying a three-pronged test requiring plaintiffs to establish injury in fact, causality, and redressability, the court determined that the plaintiffs failed to satisfy the latter two requirements, and therefore lacked the Article III standing necessary to pursue their claims in federal court. This Comment argues that the Ninth Circuit was correct in its standing analysis, and further that it might lead to new research into tracking the localized effects of greenhouse gas emissions, and thus open the door to successful environmental challenges in the future.