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10 Apr 2023

EarthRights International

USA: Colorado communities petition Supreme Court to allow climate lawsuit against Exxon and Suncor to be held in state court

Colorado farming

"Colorado Communities Urge Supreme Court to Allow Them to Proceed with Climate Lawsuit in Colorado Court", 10 Apr 2023

With the U.S. government and the unanimous decisions of 20 federal appellate judges supporting them, three Colorado communities urged the Supreme Court today to allow their climate lawsuit against Big Oil to proceed in state court.

Boulder County, the City of Boulder, and San Miguel County, which sued oil companies Exxon and Suncor in 2018, were recently assisted by a U.S. government brief that agreed that their cases should continue in Colorado state court. In their own supplemental brief last week, the oil companies charged that the government’s brief – which the Supreme Court specifically requested – should be ignored because it is political, claiming that the government has reversed itself from positions that were more friendly to Big Oil under the Trump administration. A brief filed today by the Colorado communities refutes this attack on the integrity of the government.

“The United States has examined the law and concluded that our position is correct,” said Marco Simons, General Counsel for EarthRights International, which represents the Colorado communities. “The oil companies have lost their argument in every court that has heard it. It would be far more surprising if the U.S. government departed from the unanimous view of six federal appellate courts..."

The Colorado communities argue that Big Oil, which made billions of dollars selling fossil fuels while concealing and misrepresenting the dangers of the profligate fossil fuel use they promoted, should share some of the responsibility for the costs of climate injuries. The companies’ first response has been to try to force the climate cases into federal court – where, they say, the communities have no remedies. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, like every other federal court, rejected this argument last year, and the oil companies sought review from the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court could decide the petition within two weeks; if the justices decline review, the communities’ lawsuits will move forward in Colorado state court...