Victory in Large Hadron Collider Case


Atlantic Legal represented three eminent scientists, Richard Wilson and two Nobel laureates in Physics, supporting the defendants in resisting a challenge to the U.S. government’s support of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a subatomic particle accelerator built and operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland.

The plaintiffs sued the United States Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and CERN, claiming that their financial participation in the LHC project was a major government action that required preparation of an environmental impact statement before the United States undertook its action and that they violated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Plaintiffs, who claim to be scientists, assert that the LHC can produce black holes or other cosmological anomalies which threaten the very existence of the planet. The district court (in which we also filed an amicus brief) granted the federal defendants’ motion to dismiss.

One of the plaintiffs appealed and we filed a brief in support of Respondents. Appellant’s argument focuses in significant part on our brief below. Our brief demonstrates that Appellants brief shows a deep and fundamental misunderstanding of the scientific process, and argues that the LHC does not present a significant risk to the environment.

In late August 2010 the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the case, holding that the plaintiffs had not established a direct or imminent injury, and therefore did not have standing. In the meantime, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN began operation, and so far has produced no black holes or other catastrophic cosmological anomalies.

To view Atlantic Legals brief, please click here.

To view the Ninth Circuit Court opinion , please click here.