Split decision by state appeals court on Seattle City Light “greenwashing” case

Today the Washington State Court of Appeals handed down a mixed decision in a case filed by the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe accusing Seattle City Light of “greenwashing” its hydroelectric power plants.

A lower court had dismissed the Tribe’s case in its entirety. The appeals court affirmed most of that decision, agreeing that Seattle City Light is not subject to the Consumer Protection Act (based on a state Supreme Court precedent) and that the utility’s claim to be the “greenest utility” is “mere puffery” and not subject to a false advertising claim. But it held that other claims that City Light created a nuisance with its hydroelectric dam on the Skagit River, which does not have a fish ladder or other bypass mechanism, can proceed forward to trial (it did not decide the question).

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