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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, January 11, 2018 1:00 am

NYC files lawsuit against oil firms

Associated Press

NEW YORK – New York City is taking on the oil industry on two fronts, announcing a lawsuit Wednesday that blames the top five oil companies for contributing to global warming and saying the city will sell off billions in fossil fuel investments from its pension funds.

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio received blowback from some of the companies, while winning praise from environmentalists and others.

“We're bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits,” the mayor said.

The city alleges the fossil fuel industry was aware for decades that burning fuel was impacting climate change.

The defendants in the city's federal lawsuit are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell. Three of the companies shot back against the mayor's accusations, while two others – ConocoPhillips and BP – declined to enter the fray.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue and requires global participation and actions,” said Exxon Mobil's Scott Silvestri. “Lawsuits of this kind – filed by trial attorneys against an industry that provides products we all rely upon to power the economy and enable our domestic life – simply do not do that.”

Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall called the suit meritless and said the litigation will do nothing to address climate change. Curtis Smith, a Shell spokesman, said the courts are not the venue to address climate change.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court follows similar litigation filed by San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz in California.