USA: Rhode Island files lawsuit against oil & gas companies over climate change impacts

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Article
2 July 2018

Rhode Island becomes first state to sue oil industry, seek damages for climate change

Author: Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times

Rhode Island filed a landmark climate lawsuit Monday against the world’s largest petroleum companies, making the state the first to seek damages to cover what is says are costs of global warming in what had previously been a legal fight waged exclusively by liberal localities.  Gov. Gina Raimondo, joined by Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse...made the announcement at the Narragansett Sea Wall, part of a 400-mile coastline stretch that she said makes Rhode Island “more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than any other state.”...The state’s “public nuisance” claim, which seeks potentially billions of dollars to cover infrastructure costs associated with an anticipated sea level rise, follows more than a dozen similar lawsuits filed by progressive communities in coastal areas of California, New York and Washington, as well as in landlocked Colorado....Infrastructure in need of upgrades or repairs include the electric grid, bridges, roads, ports, wastewater management facilities, beaches and dams, the filing stated.  The companies named in the Rhode Island complaint include Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP PLC, Shell, Citgo, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil and Royal Dutch Shell....Exxon Mobil has threatened to sue the California localities, pointing out that many of them failed to disclose the climate change threat in their bond offerings to investors.

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Article
2 July 2018

Rhode Island sues oil companies over climate change

Author: Timothy Cama, The Hill (USA)

Rhode Island’s attorney general sued a dozen oil and natural gas companies and their affiliates Monday in state court, accusing them of causing climate change and not sufficiently mitigating its effects.  Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said Rhode Island is uniquely harmed by global warming, with its more than 400 miles of shoreline, fishing industry, marine economy and other factors...The defendants in the lawsuit include big companies across the petroleum supply chain, including Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., Marathon Oil Corp. and Hess Corp.  Kilmartin’s lawsuit is the first time that a state has sued fossil fuel companies to hold them responsible for the effects of climate change...

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Article
2 July 2018

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

Author: Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News (USA)

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...[S]tate Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin...said it would hold the companies—including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Royal Dutch Shell—accountable for harm they have caused...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..."As a direct and proximate consequence of Defendants' wrongful conduct described in this Complaint, average sea level will rise substantially along Rhode Island's coast; average temperatures and extreme heat days will increase; flooding, extreme precipitation events...and drought will become more frequent and more severe..." the lawsuit states.  It says Rhode Island is already seeing the effects, and taxpayers are left to pay the costs.  Shell released a statement to Reuters saying that "lawsuits that masquerade as climate action and impede the collaboration needed for meaningful change" were not the answer to climate change...

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Article
2 July 2018

State of Rhode Island v Chevron et al. - Lawsuit

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Article
23 July 2018

An Oil Company Seeks to Move Rhode Island's Climate Change Lawsuit to Federal Court

Author: Emily Moon, Pacific Standard (USA)

Shell Oil, the first defendant to respond to a Rhode Island lawsuit seeking to hold oil companies accountable for climate change, motioned to take the case to federal court..The "public nuisance" claim applies under a law that allows the state to prevent pollution of public property, but federal courts have sometimes rejected this argument in lawsuits related to climate change...The move comes weeks after federal judges threw out similar lawsuits brought by Oakland, San Francisco, and New York City against fossil fuel companies, ruling that the responsibility falls to Congress and the executive branch.

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