Chicago Launches Lawsuits Against Major Oil Companies

Here We Go AGAIN - Another Lawsuit Filed!

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Chicago has filed a lawsuit against six major oil companies and the primary fossil fuel advocacy organization, accusing them of orchestrating a campaign to deny climate change, which adversely affected the city’s residents. The legal action asserts that efforts to address climate change and its effects on disadvantaged communities have incurred nearly $200 million in costs.

The city argued that the West Side endured perilous summer temperatures, severe weather events, coastal erosion, and susceptibility to sudden floods. While Chicago is not the only city pursuing such legal action, as the third-largest city in the nation, it stands as one of the most prominent to take this step.

The city’s legal action claimed that BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell undermined scientific findings while causing environmental harm. The lawsuit accused these companies of various wrongdoing, including fraud, conspiracy, negligence, and creating a nuisance, and of neglecting to adequately caution about the consequences of fossil fuels. 

Mayor Brandon Johnson, a Democrat, emphasized the importance of accountability for justice and pledged to ensure these companies are held liable for their role in exacerbating air pollution and flooding.

In the extensive filing, which spanned almost 200 pages, the defendants were held accountable for weather incidents dating back decades, including the 1995 heat wave that resulted in the deaths of over 700 city residents. Richard Wiles, President of the Center for Climate Integrity, asserted that oil companies have been deceiving the public for many years regarding the environmental consequences of fossil fuels. He stated that cities like Chicago are justified in seeking restitution for the damages incurred.

Ryan Meyers, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of API, asserted that over the past two decades, their objective of delivering affordable energy while decreasing emissions had been successfully accomplished. Theodore Boutrous, legal counsel for Chevron, contended that legislation, rather than fragmented nationwide litigation, represented the most effective approach to tackling climate change. 

Similarly, representatives from Shell echoed these sentiments, emphasizing that their stance on climate change had been clear for decades and that robust government policies were preferable to courtroom proceedings.

Chicago is being represented in the lawsuit by the California-based law firm Sher Edling, known for leading legal efforts against the oil industry. The firm has previously initiated legal actions on behalf of various entities, including Baltimore, Delaware, Honolulu, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York City, Rhode Island, San Francisco, and Washington DC, as well as numerous local governments across the United States.

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