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16 Jun 2022

Emily Sanders, Center for Climate Integrity

Exxon seeks a Supreme Court bailout

...ExxonMobil, which President Biden last week said makes “more money than God,” predicted decades ago that its fossil fuel products would make such disasters more frequent and severe. 

Now, facing lawsuits from more than two dozen states and municipalities for lying about that threat, the oil giant has once again appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in the hopes of avoiding accountability. 

After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that a lawsuit against Exxon and Suncor Energy from three Colorado communities should proceed in state court, where the case was originally filed, the oil companies are asking the nation’s high court to step in and bail them out. 

The counties of Boulder and San Miguel, along with the City of Boulder, are seeking to make the polluters pay for the worsening climate damages their residents now face. Exxon and Suncor argued the case is better suited for federal court — an argument that’s been rejected by courts across the country.  

Exxon has asked the Supreme Court to intervene on the issue of jurisdiction twice before, requesting its review of lower court rulings in climate liability lawsuits filed by Baltimore, and San Francisco and Oakland. Both times, the court said no thanks — but the oil major still isn’t calling it quits.

I asked Marco Simons, general counsel for EarthRights International and a member of the legal team representing the Colorado communities in their case, to help us understand Exxon’s strategy and what we might expect from the Supreme Court.