(Host) The state of Vermont has joined with seven other states in a lawsuit against five major power companies that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. The lawsuit charges that the emissions are a significant contributor to global warming and that the emissions are affecting the health of citizens and the economies in the individual states.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) The coalition of states includes New York, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. The lawsuit doesn’t seek monetary damages but instead calls for substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from the 174 power plants owned by the five companies. The suit calls for a three percent reduction in CO2 emissions in each of the next 10 years.
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell told reporters at a New York City press conference that Vermont has a vital interest in the outcome of this lawsuit:
(Sorrell) “Prevailing winds in this country are from the west and Vermont, I have to say, is doing more than our part to clean up our share of the pollutants we emit. But we feel in many respects like an innocent downstream neighbor being victimized by our neighbors. And we want companies to step up [and] take responsibility for what they’re doing to our citizens.”
(Kinzel) Sorrell says it’s critical to seek a solution to this problem in the near future because the effects of global warming can already been seen in many states:
(Sorrell) “This is less than the blink of an eye in geologic history and to see changes this dramatic in that short a period of time. Is it a frivolous lawsuit? Is it a political lawsuit? We’ll see in court. We think we have the law on our side, we think we have the facts on our side and we’ll let the system decide.”
(Kinzel) The state of Vermont is also a party to several lawsuits seeking to reduce nitrogen and sulfur dioxide emissions from Midwestern power plants but this suit is the first legal action brought against the power companies based on their carbon dioxide emissions.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.