New York City is suing the world’s five biggest oil companies on allegations they knew about the impact the industry was having on the environment but concealed this knowledge from the public for decades.
The city’s authorities didn’t stop there, either. Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York’s five pension funds would divest their holdings in fossil fuels, which are around $5 billion. The city will also be seeking billions from the Big Oil group, which includes Exxon, BP, Chevron, Shell, and ConocoPhillips.
While not all companies were willing to comment on the news, a spokesman for Shell said that courts were not the place to address climate change.
The announcement of the lawsuit comes on the heels of Exxon saying it would seek to sue a number of government officials from several California counties and San Francisco for making misleading statements. Attorneys for the company said that while these counties, in their lawsuits against more than a dozen oil companies, claimed they were under imminent environmental dangers because of the energy industry, they failed to mention this in several bond offerings from the last few years.
The wave of lawsuits could be attributed to America’s notoriously litigious culture, but it’s not the end of Big Oil’s problems. Earlier this week, it emerged that President Trump’s America First tax reform plan may turn out to be a mixed blessing for the big energy companies.