Energy Facility Litigation Database Released


Posted on January 13th, 2012 by Adam Riedel

By Julia Dobtsis, Fall 2011 CCCL Extern

The Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School has added an energy facility litigation database  to its research resources. This new resource collects and organizes in one central database energy cases spanning the years 2005 through 2011, and contains a total of approximately 2000 decisions from U.S. federal and state courts. It has litigation related both to conventional power sources and renewables.

The database is organized by the type of energy facility being litigated: coal, nuclear, natural gas, oil, hydropower, solar, wind, ethanol, pipeline, cogeneration, and transmission. Within each category, cases are searchable by name, citation, jurisdiction, court, date, and facility location. This organization will facilitate the sorting or searching of cases according to specific criteria. For instance, a user may desire to isolate all federal cases related to nuclear energy facilities in Tennessee. To do this, the user would choose the “Nuclear” energy facility type worksheet tab at the bottom of the excel sheet screen. The user would then select “U.S. Federal” in the Jurisdiction column and “Tennessee” in the Facility Location column to obtain the desired results. The database permits a variety of search permutations.

We hope this new resource will be of use to practitioners and scholars researching a wide range of energy litigation issues: how certain types of projects are treated differently across jurisdictions; where certain types of energy litigation are concentrated; how a range of projects is treated in one particular jurisdiction; differences in state court energy litigation versus federal; etc.

Navigating the Database
The “Filter” function has been turned on in each sheet of the database to enable the search for energy facility cases by jurisdiction, court, date, and facility location. If the filters do not appear in the database as downloaded from the website, it is possible to turn them on by opening the document in excel. Simply save the file as an excel sheet onto your desktop and open it. The filter option can be found in the “Data” tab of Microsoft Word 2007. To turn it on, highlight the row containing the category names (this will usually be row 1; press on the number to highlight the entire row) and click on the “Filter” icon. You will see down-arrows appear at the top of every column in the cell containing the category label. Clicking on the down-arrow will produce a drop-down menu from which the relevant search criteria can be selected.

The database was prepared by Julia Dobtsis, Cornell Law School Class of 2012, who spent the fall of 2011 as an extern at Columbia’s Center for Climate Change Law.

Please also remember to explore CCCL’s other climate change litigation research, the U.S. Climate Change Litigation Chart and International Climate Change Litigation Chart. For any questions or updates to the database resources, send an email to shelley.welton@law.columbia.edu.

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