New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio threatened Big Oil with more lawsuits on the Bernie Sanders Show podcast, comparing the industry to the tobacco giants, saying they “systematically poisoned the Earth, knew about it, covered it up, explained it away, tried to hook people more and more on their product.”
De Blasio urged local authorities in cities and municipalities to use their “litigation powers” to make Big Oil pay billions for the damages that the industry has done to the planet and “get the resources back.”
De Blasio’s threats come on the heels of a lawsuit the city of New York launched earlier this month against five Big Oil companies, including Exxon, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Shell. At the time, Mayor de Blasio said the suit was an effort to recover funds the city has used to defend against the effects of climate change in recent years. What’s more, the city’s five pension funds will pull out from the fossil fuel industry as part of NYC’s shunning of oil, coal, and gas.
The state of New York has also increased barriers to entry for fossil fuel companies. Since former governor David Paterson introduced a moratorium on fracking in New York back in 2010, the state has become a poster child for the drive towards renewable energy. Peterson’s successor, Andrew Cuomo, banned fracking indefinitely in 2014. In 2016, he blocked the construction of the Constitution pipeline that would have transported natural gas from Pennsylvania to upstate New York and New England.
Yet, strong as those words are, it is difficult to take them at face value. Last September, NYC statistics revealed that the city’s municipal workforce had logged 102 million miles on the road in the latest full fiscal year, which, the New York Times pointed out, was 25 percent more than in 2014, when Bill de Blasio took office.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Our court system needs to be reformed to make the people who file such suits subject to the same risks they seek to place on their opponents. Until such is done, there will be no shortage of litigants (and contingency lawyers) willing to pursue such nonsense, ultimately at all of our expense.
Either downward or upward