California seeks dismissal of lawsuit over climate disclosure laws

By Jordan Wolman | 03/28/2024 01:28 PM EDT

A U.S. District Court judge is set to consider the case June 20.

Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Oakland, California.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration is defending the state's landmark climate disclosure laws. Jeff Chiu/AP

California is moving to seek dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups aiming to overturn the state’s nation-leading climate disclosure laws enacted last year.

California filed a motion asserting its authority to compel climate-related disclosures from large companies operating in the state through S.B. 253 and S.B. 261, arguing that the U.S. Chamber, California Chamber of Commerce, American Farm Bureau Federation and other groups involved in the federal lawsuit haven’t yet suffered and that the federal Clean Air Act doesn’t preemptively bar the state from implementing its laws.

In a 34-page filing, the state responds to the business groups’ assertion that California is seeking to “regulate greenhouse-gas emissions outside of [California’s] own borders” — not from actual regulation of the emissions themselves, since the laws only require disclosure, but from “pressure.”


“On Plaintiffs’ theory, any ‘pressure’ companies feel would come from third parties — investors, customers, and the like — not from the State itself,” California’s attorneys wrote. “And courts routinely distinguish between pressure created by state laws and actual regulation by the State, and recognize only the latter as an actionable injury.”