Rhode Island Gives Suing Fossil Fuels Companies A Whirl

It’s not like a federal judge hasn’t already shot down other lawsuits or something

Rhode Island Sues Oil Companies Over Climate Change, First State to Do So

Rhode Island on Monday became the first state to sue oil companies over the effects of climate change, filing a complaint seeking damages for the costs associated with protecting the state from rising seas and severe weather.

Standing atop a seawall in Narragansett, state Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin compared the case to the lawsuits filed decades ago against tobacco companies and said it would hold the companies—including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Royal Dutch Shell—accountable for harm they have caused.

“Big oil knew for decades that greenhouse gas pollution from their operations and their products were having a significant and detrimental impact on the earth’s climate,” he said. “Instead of working to reduce that harm, these companies chose to conceal the dangers, undermine public support for greenhouse gas regulation and engage in massive campaigns to promote the ever increasing use of their products and ever increasing revenues in their pockets.”

The lawsuit, filed in Providence/Bristol County Superior Court, names 14 oil and gas companies and some of their affiliates, saying they created conditions that constitute a public nuisance under state law and failed to warn the public and regulators of a risk they were well aware of. It follows a series of similar lawsuits filed by local jurisdictions around the country.

So, when will the state of Rhode Island give up its own use of fossil fuels which cause harm and dangers and public nuisance? And why did AG Kilmartin take a fossil fueled trip from the capital city, Providence, to Narragansett to make this announcement?

Of course, if he thinks that the fossil fuels companies will roll over, well, think again. They haven’t with the other shakedown suits, and they’ll surely fight this one. And find information Rhode Island doesn’t want known. And, if AG Kilmartin wants to attempt to stop them from promoting their product, well, he might want to look at the Constitution.

Still, the first thing all the fossil fuels companies should do is refuse to sell oil to the state government. And then they can point out that sea rise is negligible in Rhode Island. Newport’s gauge goes all the way back to 1930, and shows “The relative sea level trend is 2.75 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.16 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1930 to 2017 which is equivalent to a change of 0.90 feet in 100 years.” The one in Providence shows 2.27mm a year, the equivalent to a change of 0.74 feet in 100 years. Both are below what would be expected for a normal Holocene warm period. Facts are a bitch.

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3 Responses to “Rhode Island Gives Suing Fossil Fuels Companies A Whirl”

  1. captainfish says:

    Well, I would suggest the Oil companies stop dealing with the state itself. They can still sell oil and gas to the citizens, but stop supplying oil and gas to the state gov’t and honoring its credit.

    And yeah, you’d think if the oil and gas companies are so bad, then their products would also be bad. Time for the state to divest from them as well.

  2. Jeffery says:

    shakedown suits

    Were the state lawsuits against the tobacco companies ‘shakedown suits’?

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