Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has accused Big Oil of first-degree murder and plans to sue the supermajors, he said during a Politico podcast at the SWSW festival.
“We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to be in there like an Alabama tick. Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco,” Schwarzenegger said, adding gas stations should have warning signs that oil kills.
At the very least, he said, these warnings would serve to raise awareness of the harmful effects of the oil industry on people and the environment. As for the first-degree-murder accusation, the former governor had this to say: “I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.”
With his litigation plans, Schwarzenegger joins a growing group of people and organizations that seem bent on ruining the giant that is Big Oil.
Last September, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland filed lawsuits against Chevron, Exxon, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell for the effect of their activities on climate change: higher sea levels. The cities seek billions in damages to counteract the effects of the changing climate. Related: The OPEC Deal Could Fall Apart In June
Reuters quoted San Francisco officials as saying that the five oil companies “knowingly and recklessly created an ongoing public nuisance that is causing harm now and in the future risks catastrophic harm to human life and property.”
Then this January, New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio threatened Big Oil with more lawsuits, 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.” This is increasingly looking like the start of a lawsuit wave against Big Oil, but the latter is not sitting on its hands, either.
Exxon recently responded to the California lawsuits in-kind, accusing the plaintiffs of deliberately withholding certain information with regard to Big Oil’s effect on the environment from their bond offerings, while highlighting the same information in their lawsuits against the supermajors.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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