Federal judges in New York and California tossed lawsuits filed by the cities of New York, San Francisco and Oakland. Thankfully, these are setbacks for similar lawsuits filed by other municipalities seeking monetary compensation from fossil fuel companies alleging they are intentionally with holding research of their own scientists that concludes burning fossil fuels causes climate change.
According to The New York Times, in both cases the judges stated the courts were not the venue for the cities to seek redress for potential problems caused by climate change and both magistrates rejected the legal theories the cities used to try to make their cases.
A similar attempt was made by the state of Connecticut against American Electric Power Company almost eight years ago. The result was a unanimous decision by the Second District of the US Court of Appeals. In their ruling, the court decided the federal common law of nuisance was disestablished by the Clean Air Act and jurisdiction over the issues raised by Connecticut was delegated to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The only reason this litigation was initiated was for liberal municipalities to extract bribes from fossil fuel companies in order for the plaintiffs to fund municipal infrastructure projects. As The Wall Street Journal revealed last year, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland have resorted to litigation in order to force oil companies to pay for sea walls and other projects allegedly to protect their coastlines from rising sea levels attributed to human-caused climate change. While the costs of such expenditures aren’t known, they will probably carry a price-tag in the billions of dollars.
All of the cities and counties suing fossil fuel companies come from states with huge tax burdens coupled with significant population drains. Rather than raise taxes, municipalities instead resort to litigation seeing oil and gas companies as a pool of money to soak in order to reward or benefit their politically-correct friends. Simultaneously, politicians behind the litigation are able to get on the six o’clock news and the cover of local, state and national newspapers in order to assume the mantle of maverick climate crusaders.
Environmentalists, on the other hand, saw the lawsuits as a means to shut oil and gas companies down. Thankfully, the New York, San Francisco and Oakland lawsuit dismissals will not only be a set back for them, but nails in the coffin of similar litigation.