Proof that our current legal framework isn’t up to the task of confronting a new threat:
In a 5-4 decision that reversed a King County Superior Court ruling, the justices ruled that the city utility lacked the authority to use ratepayers’ money to compensate for its planet warming pollution.
Using ratepayer money in this manner is not “sufficiently related to the purpose of supplying electricity,” wrote Chief Justice Gerry Alexander.
In November 2005, City Light had boasted that it was the first publicly owned major utility in the nation to no longer contribute to global warming, that it was “carbon neutral.”
Back when City Light was founded, nobody thought about global warming. After all, it was 1902, and the automobile was still a curiosity.
I don’t fault the Washington State Supreme Court for ruling how they did. City Light was stung for “exceeding their brief” at least once before. This illustrates how our laws need to change to better fight this threat. Better we attack this problem now than wait for the Cascades to lose their snow pack, making our dams in the North Cascades artifacts of a by-gone era.