July 12 News: Texas Judge Rules Atmosphere Is A ‘Public Trust’

A Texas judge has ruled that the atmosphere and air must be protected for public use, just like water, which could help attorneys tasked with arguing climate change lawsuits designed to force states to cut emissions. [Washington Post]

Adam Abrams, one of the attorneys arguing the case against TCEQ, said Triana’s ruling could be used as a persuasive argument in lawsuits pending in 11 other states.

In Texas, though, a ruling to protect air and the atmosphere has added significance. Republican Gov. Rick Perry is one of the most vocal opponents against widely accepted scientific research that fossil fuel emissions are causing global warming. And the state has refused to regulate greenhouse gases, forcing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work directly with industries to ensure they comply with federal law.

“The commission’s conclusion that the public trust doctrine is exclusively limited to the conservation of water is legally invalid,” Triana wrote.

Power customers in Maryland will likely be fuming when they learn that electric utilities Pepco and BGE will be recouping lost revenue from the recent mass power outages from ratepayers. [Huffington Post]


The most destructive fire in Colorado history — which killed two people, scorched almost 29 square miles and destroyed more than 346 homes in less than three weeks — is now fully contained. [Los Angeles Times]

A plunge in the price of natural gas has made it cheaper for utilities to produce electricity. But the savings aren’t translating to lower rates for customers. [Huffington Post]

BP has abandoned its controversial £1bn plan to drill for 100m barrels of oil off the coast of Alaska. [Guardian]

A new report is warning hundreds of inland Australian towns could cease to exist by 2050 if locals do not adapt to climate change. [News Sydney]

New cars and vans in the European Union will produce one-third less carbon dioxide within eight years, under proposed new rules set out on Wednesday in Brussels. [Guardian]


U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said arguments against pushing renewable energy policies are “dangerous” for the economy, signaling he’s resisting pressure from within the government to cut subsidies for the industry. [Businessweek]