A logo for Shell Oil is seen on a garage forecourt in central London, 6 March 2014. Photo: Neil Hall / REUTERS

By Karen Savage
2 July 2018

(Climate Liability News) – Rhode Island is suing 21 oil and gas companies, state attorney general Peter Kilmartin announced on Monday, becoming the first U.S. state to attempt to hold the industry responsible for climate change-driven damages.

“For a very long time, there has been this perception that ‘Big Oil’ was too big to take on, but here we are—the smallest state, the Ocean State—taking on the biggest, most powerful corporate polluters in the world,” Kilmartin said, adding that Rhode Island has too much at stake not to sue.

The suit was filed in Bristol County Superior Court and alleges that the 21 companies—including oil giants Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and others— knowingly contributed to climate change and failed to adequately warn Rhode Island citizens about the risks posed by their products.

The state alleges the companies’ actions caused sea level rise and violated state laws by polluting, impairing, and destroying the state’s natural resources, interfering with the public’s ability to use and enjoy those resources.

Rhode Island has more than 400 miles of shoreline that includes historic communities and a robust marine and fishing industry.

“As we face the threat of climate change, we need to build more resilient infrastructure and we need to hold the people and companies most responsible for climate change accountable. Working families shouldn’t have to pay for the willful ignorance of big oil, big gas, and big coal companies,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. [more]

Rhode Island Becomes the First State to File Climate Suit Vs. Oil Industry



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