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14 Feb 2022

Lesley Clark, E&E News

USA: Lawsuit against oil companies for climate change impacts will move forward in State courts; incl. co. comment

"Oil firms suffer major setback in Colo. climate lawsuit," 9 Feb. 2022

A federal appeals court ... agreed to keep a Colorado lawsuit before a state bench, delivering a victory to local governments suing fossil fuel companies for climate impacts.

The ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the first test of a Supreme Court decision last May [2021] that sent a host of climate liability cases back to appellate judges with instructions to consider a broader range of factors when deciding whether the challenges should be heard in state or federal court.

... “This is a major victory for efforts to hold Exxon and other polluters accountable for the climate damages they knowingly caused,” said Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, a group that supports the climate liability litigation. “Oil and gas companies are desperate to avoid having to explain their lies and deception in front of juries in state court, but once again judges have rejected their efforts to escape accountability.”

A spokesperson for Exxon said the Colorado lawsuit’s claims are “baseless and without merit” and that the company looks forward to defending itself in court. “Legal proceedings like this waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change,” said Casey Norton, corporate media relations manager for the company. “ExxonMobil will continue to invest in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting society’s growing demand for energy.”