Could A Potential Conflict Of Interest Unravel A City’s Global Warming Lawsuit?

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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The mayor of Imperial Beach, Calif., the first city to sue oil companies over global warming, heads an environmental group that may benefit if the city wins, according to an industry group opposed to the lawsuits.

Mayor Serge Dedina is also the executive director and founder of WildCoast. Dedina, a Democrat, collects a $100,000 salary from WildCoast while serving as Imperial Beach’s mayor. WildCoast relies on public and private donations for coastal conservation projects.

“In this lawsuit, there is concern that he is leveraging his platform as mayor to advance the interests of his own advocacy group at the expense of the common good,” the Manufacturer’s Accountability Project said in a blog post.

The southern California city filed suit in July against oil and mining companies, including ExxonMobil and Chevron, demanding they pay for the damages caused by sea level rise.

A total of nine local government shave sued energy companies over global warming, and, like Imperial Beach, are demanding industry pay for infrastructure to mitigate future sea level rise caused by man-made global warming.

The Accountability Project argues any settlement that includes future spending on coastal infrastructure could benefit WildCoast. The lawsuit is being handled by the law firm Sher Edling.

“The group is reliant on raising money from those who support, among other things, the protection of coastal areas in California,” the Accountability Project wrote. “In the lawsuit he filed for Imperial Beach, he is seeking to fund specific projects related to the protection of coastal areas in California.”

The Accountability Project is part of the National Association of Manufacturers’ legal arm that “serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts,” according to their website.

Dedina did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.


WildCoast works on coastal conservation projects and joined with other environmental activists in opposing President Donald Trump’s administration’s review of potential Antiquities Act abuses in creating national monuments.

WildCoast also tweeted out a story from July highlighting the first wave of global warming lawsuits. Imperial Beach, Marin County and San Mateo County sued 37 energy companies that month. Sher Edling is handling all three suits.

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