Description: Challenge to adequacy of Massachusetts programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Kain v. Department of Environmental Protection
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 05/17/2016 Opinion Download Opinion issued. Massachusetts High Court Ordered State to Impose Limits on Annual Aggregate Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to take additional measures to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act, a state law enacted in 2008. Specifically, the court held that the Act required MassDEP to impose volumetric limits on aggregate greenhouse gas emissions from certain types of sources and that these limits were required to decline on an annual basis. The court was not persuaded by MassDEP’s argument that it had complied with the Act’s requirements by implementing several regulatory initiatives, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative cap-and-trade program and a low emission vehicle program. The court said that these other initiatives were “important to the Commonwealth’s overall scheme of reducing greenhouse gas emissions over time,” but that more must be done to attain the “actual, measurable, and permanent emissions reductions” required by the Act.
Kain v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/23/2015 Memorandum Decision Download Plaintiffs' motion for judgment on the pleadings denied and defendant's request for dismissal allowed. A Massachusetts Superior Court ruled that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) had substantially satisfied the requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act, a 2008 law that required MassDEP to “promulgate regulations establishing a desired level of declining annual aggregate emission limits for sources or categories of sources that emit greenhouse gas emissions.” MassDEP argued that it had satisfied this mandate by developing three programs: limitations on sulfur hexafluoride leaks, participation in a regional cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide emissions, and a Low Emission Vehicle program. The court found that each of these programs satisfied the statutory mandate, and said that the plaintiffs’ “various quarrels” with the regulatory actions were “hypertechnical and overly exacting.” One of the plaintiffs, Conservation Law Foundation, announced on March 25, 2015 that it would appeal the decision. 08/11/2014 Complaint Download Complaint filed.