Hawaii Attempts to Force Eco-left Policies on the Nation 

Hawaii Attempts to Force Eco-left Policies on the Nation 

June 5, 2024

A recent lawsuit filed in Honolulu (Sunoco v. City & County of Honolulu) aims to impose eco-left policies nationwide in violation of the Clean Air Act and federal law. Honolulu wants oil and gas companies to pay billions in damages and to stop producing emissions altogether based on speculative claims. 

The Wall Street Journal  editorial board writes, 

“The city and county of Honolulu are suing oil and gas companies (Sunoco v. City & County of Honolulu) for creating a public nuisance. They say greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels contribute to climate change and thus harm Hawaiians. They also say the companies misled the public about such dangers.”

The kicker is that since Honolulu states, “it is not possible to determine the source of any particular individual molecule of CO2,” oil and gas companies would have to stop producing products everywhere in the US. This unfounded claim and attempt by a state to dictate national climate policy is a threat to constitutional federalism. 

In 2021 a similar climate case was dismissed in New York’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals upon Judge Richard Sullivan’s reasoning, “It calls for the application of federal common law, not state law. Second, the Clean Air Act grants the Environmental Protection Agency—not federal courts—the authority to regulate domestic greenhouse gas emissions”

The Hawaiian Supreme Court ignored this precedent and allowed the lawsuit to proceed in state court. The differences between these two cases set the stage for the Supreme Court review, which US Justices will consider a petition for on Thursday. This provides a shining opportunity for the Court to step in and block Hawaii’s blatantly unconstitutional move to dictate broader US climate policy.