A small county in the state of Washington filed a lawsuit Wednesday targeting Exxon, Chevron, Conoco Phillips and several other oil companies for contributing to the effects of climate change.
The suit, which was brought by Seattle-based law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, seeks to create an abatement fund addressing changes to infrastructure, like bridge maintenance, salmon recovery and public health. It’s similar in scope and range to one Oakland and San Francisco filed in March 2018 against the same companies.
“[King County] does not seek to impose liability on Defendants for their direct emissions of greenhouse gases and does not seek to restrain Defendants from engaging in their business operations,” the lawsuit reads.
“This case is, fundamentally, about shifting the costs of abatement back onto the companies,” it adds. “After all, it is Defendants who have profited and will continue to profit by knowingly contributing to global warming, thereby doing all they can to help create and maintain a profound public nuisance.”
The Manufacturing Accountability Project blasted King County’s lawsuit.
“Lawsuits targeting manufacturers do nothing to address climate change but will do plenty to line the pockets of plaintiffs’ attorneys,” Lindsey de la Torre, executive director of the MAP, said Wednesday in a press statement. “As history has demonstrated, these lawsuits stand little chance in the courtroom.”
The same law firm behind the Oakland and San Francisco litigation is also supporting King County’s lawsuit, De la Torre also noted. “While these plaintiffs’ attorneys are working overtime to advance their own interests through the courts, manufacturers are working toward meaningful solutions and are reducing emissions.”
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