There They Go Again, Liberal Cities Targeting Energy Companies with Lawsuits
In a bid both to infuse their failing cities with easy cash while playing to their far-left base, another city is now suing the major energy companies for promoting – you guessed it – “climate change.”
New York is the latest city to join the lawsuit frenzy, targeting the five largest publicly traded oil companies: ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Conoco-Phillips and Royal Dutch Shell. This latest suit follows on the heels of litigation from California cities San Francisco and Oakland, as well as 36 coastal counties, just in the past few months. Sadly, it looks like a growing trend that will not only clog up our courts, but threaten consumers and our economy with more expensive energy.
Claiming the oil companies pose an “existential threat” to their cities’ survival, the lawsuits also share a common claim that the oil companies have known about this “threat” for decades and done nothing to address the damage they allege; “that greenhouse gas pollution from their fossil fuel products had a significant impact on the Earth’s climate and sea levels.” Said San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, “These fossil fuel companies profited handsomely for decades while knowing they were putting the fate of our cities at risk.”
While the lawsuits are cheered by the fringe anti-energy crowd, legal experts have called the suits “fraudulent” or “frivolous.”
Attorney and biostatistician Steve Milloy, who is the publisher of JunkScience.com, said, “In a $200,000,000 bond New York City offered on September 26, 2017, the city disclosed nothing to its bond buyers about the risk of climate change—the word ‘climate’ does not even appear in the Memorandum of Offering. This is hypocritical if not fraudulent, since New York’s Exxon lawsuit claims climate damages will cost the city ‘many billions of dollars and far exceed the city’s resources.’
Said Heartland Institute President John Bast, “New York City’s January 9 lawsuit against oil companies is ridiculous for many reasons. If climate change poses an existential threat to the city, why hasn’t it disclosed this in its bond offerings, not just recently but for years and decades past, since the city claims everyone knew climate change was ‘real’ and a major threat even in the early 1980s?”
The cities, who operate and exist by using the very oil they are now attacking, are not lacking for hypocrisy. Oil lights up their buildings, powers their vehicles, heats and cools their stores and restaurants, and… you get the picture. The question remains exactly how would any of these cities survive without the oil they so eagerly attack? Clearly they wouldn’t, their streets would be empty and hold the lure of a post-apocalyptic war zone.
Thankfully, the oil companies are not taking these lawsuits lightly. Exxon, for one, is fighting back, seeking court permission to review documents and communications from city officials to investigate abuse of process and civil conspiracy claims.
Exxon believes it is the target of a “collection of special interests and opportunistic politicians” who are abusing their authority for political and financial purposes. This seems more than plausible, given that the cities are seeking financial assistance to upgrade their city infrastructure to deal with the alleged effects of climate change. But if such upgrades were necessary, why were they never mentioned when the city issued bonds to its investors? Probably, because they didn’t think of it until now.
While ridiculous on their face, this theory of holding energy companies to blame for harm that has not yet even occurred is spreading, and should not be taken lightly. Consumers, workers and taxpayers everywhere should hope that the courts agree, and deny these outlandish and grasping claims against the energy that makes everyday life possible.