Colorado Climate Litigants Outsourced Their Press Office To Environmentalists

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

The city of Boulder and Boulder County in Colorado have outsourced their press team and directed all questions related to climate lawsuits they filed against energy companies to an environmental group, Western Wire reports.

EarthRights International (ERI) is a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit legal team that is representing the Colorado litigants in their suits to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for climate change. The lawsuits hope to extract compensations from oil, gas and coal companies for damage from severe weather.

“Media inquiries are being coordinated by Marco Simon, Earth Rights International [sic?],” city of Boulder communications director Patrick von Keyserling told Western Wire, a media group run by an oil and gas interest group, in response to a question on the uncertain future of the lawsuit after it was moved from state to federal court.

Similar lawsuits by San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., and New York City have been dismissed in federal court. (RELATED: Judge Tosses Out New York City’s Climate Change Lawsuit)

With the chances of success dimming for Colorado’s climate lawsuit, taxpayers may be on the hook for covering the cost of the litigation. Residents of the City of Boulder may have to pay as much as $1 million if the lawsuit is unsuccessful.

“If we lose the case, the court may order you to pay the defendants’ costs of litigation,” ERI’s contract of litigation says. “In some cases, if a lawsuit is frivolous, not reasonably based in law or fact, and/or brought solely to harass or to coerce a settlement, a court may order you to pay the defendants’ attorneys’ fees and/or pay a penalty.”

If the lawsuit succeeds where New York City, Oakland and San Francisco’s have failed, attorney’s at the Hannon Law Firm, which ERI partnered with since the environmental group is not licensed to practice law in Colorado, stand to make 20 percent of the amount awarded.

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