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Another Blow to Big Oil in The Fight to Make Them Pay

On the heels of similar decisions last month, the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered “another win for climate accountability,” rejecting fossil fuel corporations’ attempt to quash lawsuits filed by the city of Hoboken, New Jersey, and the state of Delaware.

Oil rig at sea at sunset

Both filed in September 2020, the suits from Hoboken and Delaware - like those filed by dozens of other municipalities and states - take aim at companies including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell for fueling the climate emergency. The fossil fuel industry has repeatedly tried to evade accountability by shifting such cases from state to federal court. The Supreme Court’s decision means that both of these cases will now move forward in state court.

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings sums up why this is so important: "As we stated at the time of filing this case almost three years ago: It didn’t have to be this way. The fossil fuel industry knew for decades that their products would lead to climate change with potentially ‘severe’ and even ‘catastrophic’ consequences—their words, not ours. But they didn’t clean up their practices or warn anyone to minimize the peril they were creating. Instead, they spent decades deliberately and systematically deceiving the nation about what they knew would happen if they carried on with business as usual.”

“Imagine how far along we might be in the transition to a low-carbon economy today if not for their deception,” Jennings said. “That’s why we filed our lawsuit, and today’s order moves Delawareans one step closer to the justice and economic relief that we deserve.”

Center for Climate Integrity president Richard Wiles noted: “The Supreme Court’s decision brings the people of Delaware and Hoboken one step closer to putting these polluters on trial and making them pay for their climate deception. Fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for the damages they knowingly caused.”

Jamie Henn of Fossil Free Media said, “This should open the floodgates for more lawsuits that could make polluters pay!”

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