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Chicago Files Suit Against Big Oil

The city of Chicago has filed a suit against the five largest oil and gas companies, alleging that Big Oil has lied about oil, gas and the derived products and its effect it would have on climate change, the Chicago Sun-Times said on Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, claims that destructive climate change forces hurt the city of Chicago and its citizens, and names BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—Big Oil’s Big 5.

Chicago wasn’t the first to sue Big Oil. California and New York filed lawsuits in September, claiming that the lies, the subsequent coverup, and the resulting damage, have cost taxpayers billions in negative health and environmental outcomes. Chicago is merely following in the path already cleared.

Chicago may be looking to recoup the cost of damages associated with climate change, but Chicago hasn’t put a figure on the amount of money it is asking for—but the sum will include the funds for the infrastructure that will be needed to adapt to the current and future realities of the climate.

Big Oil has worked to discredit the science behind climate change, the suit says, and points out that last year was the planet’s hottest on record.

Big Oil has “funded, conceived, planned and carried out a sustained and widespread campaign of denial and disinformation about the existence of climate change and their products’ contribution to it,” the 185-page lawsuit reads in part.

The lawsuit follows a lawsuit that Big Oil has field of its own, this time against the federal government that challenged the Biden Administration’s lease sale plans for the Gulf of Mexico. "Demand for affordable, reliable energy is only growing, yet this administration has used every tool at its disposal to restrict access to vast energy resources in federal waters," said Ryan Meyers, General Counsel for the American Petroleum Institute, which filed the first suit, said last week.

California’s lawsuit, filed late last year, named the same five Big Oil companies, as well as trade group American Petroleum Institute, for allegedly deceiving the public about the risks of fossil fuels, causing harm to communities and to the environment—a lawsuit that is unmistakably similar to the one Chicago filed today.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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