Manufacturers Demand US Mayors Fight Back Against Wave Of Climate Lawsuits

Chris White | Energy Reporter

A group representing the U.S. manufacturing industry is begging the country’s mayors to fight back against city officials clamoring to forge climate lawsuits against energy producers.

Mayors must stand up against politicians who sue oil companies for contributing to climate change, according to a letter the Manufacturer’s Accountability Project (MAP) sent to organizations representing mayors. MAP believes such lawsuits arbitrarily punish job creators.

“These lawsuits have at times been supported, and even propelled, by mayors, which is why we are bringing this issue to your attention,” notes the letter, which is addressed to Stephen Benjamin, the president, CEO and executive director of The United States Conference of Mayors. “It is our hope that we can work together on productive steps to reverse this concerning trend.”

Lawyers and politicians are more interested in extracting a proverbial pound of flesh from oil companies, MAP’s letter notes. It adds: “What these plaintiffs actually seek to do is to distort tort law to shift the responsibility and blame for a complex, diffuse, global problem onto a single sector of the manufacturing industry upon whose products we all rely.”

MAP’s positioning comes as several cities across the country have announced lawsuits against ExxonMobil, Chevron, Succor, and other energy companies for allegedly worsening global warming.

Boulder, Colo., joined New York City, San Francisco, Oakland, and other California cities in April in a lawsuit demanding oil companies help pay for damages to city infrastructure from floods and other weather-related disasters. Manufacturers could pay a high price if the lawsuits are ultimately successful. (RELATED: Boulder Becomes Latest City To Join Climate Crusade Against Energy Companies)

California, for its part, faces a tough situation if the lawsuits miss their mark. Nearly 40 percent of the state’s crude oil is produced inside the Golden State — a reality that could slam officials if Exxon, Chevron and others being sued decide to pull out of California. The oil industry also contributes $66 billion of gross income for 2.7 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. (RELATED: San Francisco’s Climate Lawsuit Relies On Unlikely Predictions Of Sea Level Rise)

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