Court agrees to review ruling in Katrina-related climate-change case

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — A federal appeals court has agreed to review a three-judge panel’s ruling that a group of Mississippi coastal landowners can sue energy and chemical companies on allegations that linked greenhouse gas emissions to Hurricane Katrina.

The lawsuit alleges that greenhouse gas emissions from energy and chemical companies contributed to global warming, caused sea levels to rise and added to the intensity of Hurricane Katrina. Filed by landowners in U.S. District Court in Gulfport in September 2005, the lawsuit had been dismissed in 2007 and reinstated in 2009.

The companies appealed the reinstatement.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on May 1 in New Orleans.

In their petition for a review by the full 5th Circuit, the companies argued that global warming was not attributable only to them but resulted from the emissions of greenhouse gases from millions of sources dating back to the Industrial Revolution.

The three-judge panel said the landowners had shown they had suffered an injury that could be traced back to the energy and chemical companies. The landowners had sought compensatory and punitive damages against 32 companies and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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