Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Charleston, South Carolina Sues Big Oil Companies Over Climate Change Costs

Charleston is now the primary metropolis within the American South to sue main oil corporations in an try to carry them accountable for the “daunting” prices of local weather change, metropolis officers introduced Sept. 9.

The 24 defendants within the metropolis’s lawsuit in state court docket embrace multinational firms BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, in addition to regional corporations. The swimsuit alleges these corporations lied to the general public by concealing the threats fossil fuels pose to the planet.

Charleston joins several other U.S. municipalities in efforts to extract cash from the fossil gasoline corporations to pay for adaptation measures, although some have confronted an uphill battle from skeptical judges lately.

“As this lawsuit shows, these companies have known for more than 50 years that their products were going to cause the worst flooding the world has seen since Noah built the Ark,” Mayor John Tecklenburg mentioned in an announcement Wednesday.

“And instead of warning us, they covered up the truth and turned our flooding problems into their profits,” Tecklenburg mentioned. “That was wrong, and this lawsuit is all about holding them accountable for that multi-decade campaign of deception.”

In response to the swimsuit, Exxon Mobil spokesperson Casey Norton mentioned the town’s claims had been baseless and with out benefit: “Legal proceedings like this waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change.”

Charleston sits on a peninsula on the confluence of three rivers, a few of it constructed on filled-in marshes and creeks. The low-lying metropolis has seen extra frequent flood occasions over time, from about 4 days a yr 50 years in the past to just about 89 days a yr as of 2019, the swimsuit states.

In addition to flooding and erosion alongside the town’s coast, residents may even see extra frequent and extra extreme excessive occasions together with hurricanes, drought and heatwaves on account of the oil corporations’ actions, the swimsuit notes.

At a information convention final week, standing in entrance of staff working to raise an growing old seawall, Tecklenberg projected the town may wish “hundreds of millions, or billions” of {dollars} to handle these environmental adjustments.

The lawsuit comes days forward of the third anniversary in Charleston of Hurricane Irma, which brought on the third-highest recorded tidal surge within the metropolis at practically 10 toes (three meters).


Michelle Liu is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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