Environmental Law

Judge Tosses Doomsday Lawsuit for Lack of Jurisdiction


A federal judge in Honolulu has tossed a lawsuit that had contended a Swiss particle accelerator could produce a black hole and swallow the Earth.

U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor ruled the court had no jurisdiction in the case, the New York Times reports. The first test of the device on Sept. 10 proved the lawsuit’s allegations untrue—so far. A more important experiment will fire two beams at the same time, creating a collision intended to re-create the Big Bang.

The suit was filed by Walter Wagner, a retired radiation safety officer who lives in Hawaii, and Luis Sancho, a science writer and professor in Barcelona. The United States has contributed money to the project, but the judge said the amount was too small for the collider to constitute a “major federal action” that would confer jurisdiction under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Times story says.

Gillmor didn’t address whether the collider poses a danger, the Honolulu Star Bulletin reports. She said the debate should be addressed in the political arena rather than the courts.

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