Business & Media Institute 
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
FNC’s ‘Fox & Friends’ warns of the chilling effect from vague language that could allow anti-pollution litigation for headaches to cancer.
Global warming “victims” could be able to sue the government and companies if two congressmen have their way.
Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy examined a provision inserted into a bill written by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.
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The language, as originally reported by The Washington Times on April 10, would allow for anyone “who has suffered, or reasonably expects to suffer, a harm attributable, in whole or in part,” to government inaction on global warming to file a “citizen suit.”
Doocy warned viewers on April 13 this would be “chilling for business” because the provision was so vague – that “harmed” could be meant to interpret something as serious as cancer or as minor as a headache.
“Well, here’s another cost to you if you run a small business or a large business and that is this – there apparently has been a provision inserted into a House bill that says that if you are harmed by air pollution, or if you are – consider yourself a victim of global warming – you can either sue a private company or you can sue the government,” Doocy explained.
Doocy explained the slippery slope of potential lawsuit abuse by some people and the dangerous impact that could have on some small businesses.
“It all comes down to what is air pollution,” Doocy added. “What if you live next to a car wash and the car wash has a long line of cars that’s going over and those cars are idling and emitting the fumes and stuff like that? Will the person who lives next to the car wash that’s getting the headache have a case?”
However, as “Fox & Friends” fill-in host and FNC legal analyst Peter Johnson noted, it also allows a suit against the government for not doing more to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is the whole obsession and concern now with terms of emissions,” Johnson said. “Under that bill, which is put forward by Henry Waxman and Ed Markey of Massachusetts – not only can you sue the emitters of these, of these gases, but you can also sue the federal government in order to pressure the federal government to ensure that that stuff is cleaned up.”