On September 30, 2009 the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit by the Native Village of Kivalina (Native Village of Kivalina v. Exxon Mobil, et al) against twenty-four oil, energy and utility companies. The Village sought damages under a federal common law claim of nuisance, based on the companies contribution to the excessive emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which the Village claims is causing global warming. Judge Armstrong concluded that the Village’s federal claim for nuisance is barred by the political question doctrine and for lack of standing under Article III of the United States Constitution.
This case will now be appealed to the Ninth Circuit to overturn the Judge’s decision. Since the September ruling, the Fifth and the Second Federal Appellate Courts (a total of six judges) have now disagreed with Judge Armstrong.