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NY Judge Questions Merit Of Mayor’s Anti-Oil Suit

Bill de Blasio

A federal judge in Manhattan has questioned the lawsuit brought by the city’s mayor Bill de Blasio against Big Oil companies accusing them of being responsible for climate change.

The New York Post quoted Judge John Keenan as saying, “The firehouses all have trucks. The Sanitation Department has trucks. If you open the door and go out to Foley Square, you’re going to see five police cars. Does the city have clean hands?”

The judge made the remarks during a hearing of arguments for and against the case and whether it should be allowed to move forward. This is the first hearing in the case. Media quote Chevron’s attorney Ted Boutros as making a case that blaming Chevron—and the other Big Oil defendants by analogy—for the effects of climate change is the same as blaming them for “the way civilization and humankind has developed over the ages.”

Boutros went on to argue that the court was not the right place for tackling climate change and its effects. Rather, this should be the domain of the legislature, the attorney said in response to a question from Judge Keenan.

New York City’s attorney, for his part, argued that the case of NYC versus Big Oil belonged in court as a case of common public nuisance involving the companies misleading the public about the dangers associated with their product.

Related: China’s Oil Demand Could Take A Big Hit

“This is a case of absolutely first-rate importance to New York,” Matthew Pawa said, noting that New York is a coastal city. Other coastal cities are also suing or have plans to sue Big Oil companies for coastal erosion and changed weather patterns that are suggested to be a result of humanmade climate change.

The defendants, which besides Chevron include Shell, BP, Exxon, and ConocoPhillips, are arguing that the case is political, citing a call by Bill de Blasio to “bring the death knell to this industry that’s done so much harm,” which he made during a podcast with Senator Bernie Sanders.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • CorvetteKid on June 15 2018 said:
    This lawsuit needs to be KO'd immediately so Mayor DeBlassio can get on to more productive and important things....like keeping Asian kids out of the elite NYC high schools and replacing them with less-qualified students.
  • Mitch on June 14 2018 said:
    Interesting how coal companies arent facing lawsuits... must be because they have no money to potentially win anyways. NYC dumped their garbage in the ocean for decades, someone should sue them
  • ken wiebe on June 14 2018 said:
    This is a ridiculous lawsuit. We all use oil and it's products and we are all responsible for any downstream effects. We might as well all sue ourselves, and good luck on that.

    The other question is, what about the good effects of CO2 that nobody talks about? It's a bonus for every plant on earth and then on to the animals that eat plants - including ourselves. Do we owe the oil companies for that too? Should they be suing us because we have improved lives due to their efforts?

    As long as they run their business honestly and ethically, that should be the end of it. People who are oppose to oil products can always stop using them, nobody is forced.
  • Randy Verret on June 14 2018 said:
    "Bring the death knell to this industry that has done so much harm?" Really? Rather than continuing this vilification campaign on "Big Oil," whoever they are, better start worrying about how you are going to explain the probable curtailments of electricity and natural gas to northeast customers this coming winter. With all the "Keep it in the Ground" fodder, the mayors friend, New York's governor and their DEP have put a halt to several proposed gas pipelines across the state to provide needed service throughout New England. Might be more productive to get your "alibi" ready when you have a bunch of cold, dark residents in the region sitting there wondering who is to blame when you can't get enough Russian LNG into Boston to make up the difference...

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