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United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
July 29, 2020, Filed
[*362] GREGG COSTA, Circuit Judge:
The Clean Air Act authorizes "any person" to sue polluters. 42 U.S.C. § 7604(a). Any recovery goes to the government. This citizen suit provision harkens back to pre-Founding English law that allowed private individuals, through various writs, to enforce laws on behalf of the government. See Steven L. Winter, The Metaphor of Standing and the Problem of Self-Governance, 40 STAN. L. REV. 1371, 1396-99 (1988); Raoul Berger, Standing to Sue in Public Actions: Is It a Constitutional Requirement, 78 Yale L. J. 816, 827 (1969). But modern citizen suits present challenges for the Article III "cases" or "controversies" requirement under [**3] which a plaintiff must suffer an injury from the defendant's conduct. See generally RICHARD FALLON ET AL, HART & WECHSLER'S THE FEDERAL COURTS AND FEDERAL SYSTEM 151-54 (5th ed. 2003). Indeed, citizen suits under two other environmental statutes—the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act—resulted in leading Supreme Court standing decisions. Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs., Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 180-81, 120 S. Ct. 693, 145 L. Ed. 2d 610 (2000); Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61, 112 S. Ct. 2130, 119 L. Ed. 2d 351 (1992).
This citizen suit seeking to recover for Clean Air Act violations at the largest petroleum and petrochemical complex in the nation again raises this tension between citizen suits and Article III. The principal issue in this second appeal of the case is whether plaintiffs have standing to recover for more than 16,000 violations of emission standards.
The ExxonMobil complex in Baytown, Texas is massive. It includes refinery, a chemical plant, and an olefins plant.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
968 F.3d 357 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 24100 **; 50 ELR 20180; 2020 WL 4345337
ENVIRONMENT TEXAS CITIZEN LOBBY, INCORPORATED; SIERRA CLUB, Plaintiffs - Appellees v. EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION; EXXONMOBIL CHEMICAL COMPANY; EXXONMOBIL REFINING; SUPPLY COMPANY, Defendants - Appellants
Subsequent History: As Revised, August 3, 2020.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. USDC No. 4:10-CV-4969.
Env't Tex. Citizen Lobby, Inc. v. ExxonMobil Corp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72213 (S.D. Tex., Apr. 26, 2017)
violations, emissions, pollutants, traceability, district court, Air, Plaintiffs', Clean, injuries, flaring, causation, cases, act of god, smoke, emitted, limits, haze, civil penalty, citizen suit, chemical, but-for, redressability, odors, discharges, proximity, defenses, lived, emission standards, contributes, regulations