Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has partnered with StateAG.org to develop a database of actions undertaken by state attorneys general as they seek to advance environmental law and policy objectives within their jurisdictions.
The State AG Environmental Action Database is intended as an easy-to-use and organized legal resource for state attorneys general as they grapple with how to advance the ball on environmental law and policy in the absence of federal support. As noted by Michael Gerrard, Faculty Director of the Sabin Center,
“The new administration is trying to cripple federal efforts to combat climate change and other environmental hazards, but the laws of physics do not care about the election returns. State attorneys general have considerable ability to wield state laws, and to litigate for the use of federal laws, to protect the environment. This database is designed to make that job easier by providing easy and organized access to much of the legal work that has been done in recent years by AGs around the country. States will now have an easier time finding and using the wheels that each other have invented.”
The database includes major and innovative actions in the environmental law realm. These include lawsuits against the federal government for failing to implement pollution control laws, lawsuits where state attorneys general have joined with the federal government to defend environmental standards, lawsuits against private actors for environmental harms, and other types of actions such as amicus briefs, administrative petitions, and legislative inputs. It does not encompass all of the routine enforcement actions undertaken by state attorneys general. Users can search the database by topic (e.g., air/water pollution or climate change mitigation), type of action, and jurisdiction. Each entry contains a summary of the action as well as links to relevant documents and related resources.
Please note that the database is a work in progress. We plan to bring the database up-to-date over the course of the next few months and to keep it updated with new developments going forward.
The Sabin Center also recently launched a related online resource: our Climate Deregulation Tracker, which monitors efforts taken by Congress and the Trump administration to scale back or wholly eliminate federal climate mitigation and adaptation measures. The actions undertaken by state attorneys general to address the causes and impacts of climate change will become increasingly important in the context of federal deregulation. The Sabin Center also maintains U.S. and Non-U.S. Climate Litigation Charts, which contain detailed summaries and document links for cases that involve issues related to climate change.
The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School develops legal techniques to fight climate change and provides up-to-date resources on key topics in climate law and regulation. StateAG.org is a legal research and education website that examines and communicates the role and impact of state attorneys general in law and national policy. Led by Director James E. Tierney, the website provides timely information and analysis of the decisions and work of state attorneys general on issues that often escape public attention. Resources include information on particular policy areas, an active blog, Director Tierney's law school syllabus, an AG 101 portal, news articles, audiovisual materials, and links to archived materials at the National State Attorneys General Program website.
Published March 13, 2017