A mid-level appeals court on Thursday dismissed a challenge to New York’s participation in a regional cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions, ruling it was filed well outside the statute of limitations.
The state Appellate Division’s Third Department unanimously ruled against three small-business owners who had sued Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state over the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an agreement among several Northeast states to cap their emissions and auction off carbon allowances to power producers.
In its decision Thursday, the panel of judges said a challenge to New York’s participation in RGGI had to have been filed within four months of when the state Department of Environmental Conservation finalized its emissions cap in 2008. The lawsuit was filed in 2011.
The suit also challenged whether then-Gov. George Pataki had the authority to unilaterally signal the state’s willingness to participate in the program in 2005. But since Pataki had only signed a memorandum of understanding that agreed to propose the cap-and-trade program in New York, the court ruled he was within his rights.
The ruling was applauded by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office defended the state.
“The courts’ rulings are a significant victory for all of us who recognize the clear and present danger presented by climate change, and the importance of confronting its destructive effects,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
Here’s the Appellate Division ruling: