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Chicago sues oil companies for causing climate change

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The city of Chicago has filed a major lawsuit against six of the world’s largest oil and gas companies and a major energy industry group, accusing them of misleading the city’s consumers about the “dangers of climate change” posed by fossil fuels. .

Chicago named BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Shell and the American Petroleum Institute (API) as defendants in a nearly 200-page complaint filed late Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court. The filing accuses the companies of causing widespread global warming and a series of specific deadly weather events in the city over several decades.

“There is no justice without accountability,” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a statement. “From the unprecedented poor air quality we experienced last summer to the flooded basements Westside residents experienced, the effects of this crisis are profound, and so are the costs of surviving it. That’s why we’re trying to stop these crises.” Defendants are responsible. ”

“Evidence shows that these defendants intentionally mislead Chicago residents about the climate change-related risks associated with oil and gas products,” said Chicago attorney Mary Richardson-Lorey. If the fluctuations are not stopped, they could have a devastating impact on our cities.” “We bring this lawsuit to ensure that defendants who profited from deceptive activities are held accountable for their actions.”

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Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Chicago lawsuit seeks relief in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars in compensatory and loss of use damages, fines and fines for statutory violations. It also seeks to forfeit benefits and prohibit companies from engaging in the “deceptive and unfair acts and practices alleged in the lawsuit.”

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The city did not immediately release a copy of the complaint, but the city alleges 11 counts of fraud, nuisance, conspiracy and negligence, according to a copy obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The complaint also cites the 1995 heat wave that killed more than 700 residents as evidence of the dangers posed by fossil fuels. They also blame oil companies for the heat waves, increased rainfall and flooding.

“There is no justice without accountability,” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said after the lawsuit was filed. (Getty Images)

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“The record of the past 20 years is that the industry has significantly reduced emissions and environmental impact while providing affordable and reliable products to American consumers,” said Ryan Myers, API’s senior vice president and general counsel. It shows that we have achieved our goal of providing energy for America,” API Senior Vice President and General Counsel Ryan Myers told FOX News Digital. statement.

Myers continued, “The ongoing, coordinated campaign to bring pointless, politicized lawsuits against America’s essential industries and their workers is a distraction from an important national conversation. “This is nothing short of a colossal waste of taxpayer funds.” “Climate change policy should be debated and decided by Congress, not by a hodgepodge of city halls and courts.”

Drilling rig to extract natural gas

Drilling rigs are used to extract natural gas in Houston, Pennsylvania. Chicago joins dozens of states and cities representing more than 25% of Americans who are suing industry over global warming. (AP Photo/Keith Slakočić, File)

Theodore Boutras, general counsel to Chevron and partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, added that climate change should be addressed through legislation, not piecemeal lawsuits filed across the country. Ta.

“Addressing climate change requires a coordinated international policy response, not worthless local litigation over legitimate and essential energy production,” Boutras said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed a similar case in New York City, “such a far-reaching lawsuit is entirely beyond the scope of state law.”

Meanwhile, the complaint closely mirrors similar lawsuits filed by states, cities, and counties across the country. The California law firm Sher Edling, which represents Chicago, has led many of these climate-related public nuisance lawsuits, holding oil companies financially responsible for global warming.

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The firm has filed lawsuits on behalf of Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Minnesota, New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Baltimore, Honolulu, and other municipalities across the country. In January, a judge consolidated seven of Sher Edling’s California local climate lawsuits with the state’s lawsuit. This means that the company is effectively playing a role in the California fraud case.

Vic Shah, a partner at law firm Shah Edling, will speak about the climate change litigation he is involved in during a virtual panel in December 2021. Shah Edling represents Chicago and other states in climate litigation. (American Tort Museum/YouTube)

Schaer Edling, which was founded in 2016 with the stated goal of taking on such lawsuits, says on its website that the company’s efforts to combat climate change are “deceptive” to oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell. “We aim to hold those responsible for the allegations.” About climate change.

The company raised millions of dollars from liberal black-finance nonprofits to fund its operations. The full extent of Shah Edling’s financial structure is unclear, but over the years the company has received donations from pass-through funds managed by the left-wing New Venture Fund. Its individual donors are hidden from public view and donors can remain anonymous. .

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“Big oil companies have lied to the American people for decades about the catastrophic climate risks of their products, but now communities in Chicago and across the country can rightfully claim their “We are demanding that they pay for the damage they have caused.” The Center for Climate Health, which has defended the lawsuit.

“With Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States, joining the fray, we are witnessing a historic wave of lawsuits that could ultimately hold Big Oil accountable for the climate crisis it deliberately caused. There is no doubt that we are witnessing this.”

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