Chicago Sues Oil Companies for the ‘Climate Crisis They Knowingly Caused’

The Democrat-controlled City of Chicago is suing several major companies for having allegedly “caused” a so-called “climate crisis.”

As residents in the “sanctuary city” suffer from being overwhelmed by an illegal migrant crisis, Chicago officials are using taxpayer-funded resources to file a sprawling lawsuit against six of the world’s largest oil and gas companies and a leading energy industry association.

Chicago accuses the Big Oil companies of deceiving consumers in the city about the “climate dangers” posed by fossil fuels.

The almost 200-page complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County late Tuesday.

Chicago lists BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Shell, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) as defendants.

The filing blames the companies for “causing global warming.”

It also goes on to claim the companies are responsible for a series of specific deadly weather events in the city, stretching back decades.

“There is no justice without accountability,” Chicago’s Democrat Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a statement.

“From the unprecedented poor air quality that we experienced last summer to the basement floodings that our residents on the West Side experienced, the consequences of this crisis are severe, as are the costs of surviving them.

“That is why we are seeking to hold these defendants accountable.”

“Evidence shows that these defendants intentionally misled Chicago residents about the climate change-related dangers associated with their oil and gas products,” added Chicago counsel Mary Richardson-Lowry.

“If unabated, climate change could result in catastrophic impacts on our city.

“We bring this lawsuit to ensure that the defendants who have profited from the deception campaign bear responsibility for their conduct.”

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Chicago’s lawsuit seeks relief in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars in compensatory and loss-of-use damages, and penalties and fines for statutory violations.

It also seeks disgorgement of profits and enjoining the companies from “engaging in the deceptive and unfair acts and practices alleged in the lawsuit.”

The city did not immediately publish a copy of the complaint.

However, a copy obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times shows that it alleges 11 counts of fraud, nuisance, conspiracy, and negligence.

Additionally, the complaint points to a 1995 heat wave that claimed the lives of more than 700 residents.

The lawsuit claims this heat wave is evidence of the dangers posed by fossil fuels.

It also blames the oil companies for extreme heat, increased rain, and flooding.

No other evidence to support linking the weather to fossil fuels is provided, however.

“The record of the past two decades demonstrates that the industry has achieved its goal of providing affordable, reliable American energy to U.S. consumers while substantially reducing emissions and our environmental footprint,” API Senior Vice President and General Counsel Ryan Meyers said in a statement.

“This ongoing, coordinated campaign to wage meritless, politicized lawsuits against a foundational American industry and its workers is nothing more than a distraction from important national conversations and an enormous waste of taxpayer resources,” Meyers continued.

“Climate policy is for Congress to debate and decide, not a patchwork of city halls and courts.”

Theodore Boutrous, who serves as counsel for Chevron Corporation and is a partner at the firm Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher, added that climate change should be addressed through legislation, not piecemeal litigation filed across the country.

“Addressing climate change requires a coordinated international policy response, not meritless local litigation over lawful and essential energy production,” Boutrous said in a statement.

“As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in dismissing a similar New York City lawsuit, ‘such a sprawling case is simply beyond the limits of state law.’”

Meanwhile, Chicago’s lawsuit closely mirrors similar complaints filed by states, cities, and counties nationwide.

Chicago is being represented by the California law firm Sher Edling.

The firm has spearheaded such climate-related public nuisance lawsuits arguing that oil companies are financially responsible for global warming.

Sher Edling has filed cases on behalf of Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Minnesota, New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Baltimore, Honolulu, and local governments across the country.

In January, a judge consolidated seven of Sher Edling’s local climate cases in California with the state government’s case.

The move means that the firm effectively has a role in the deception case filed by the State of California as well.

Sher Edling was founded in 2016 with the stated goal of taking on such litigation.

The law firm states on its website that its climate practice seeks to hold oil companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and Shell accountable for their alleged “deception” about “climate change.”

The firm has raised millions of dollars from liberal dark money nonprofits to fund its pursuits.

While the entirety of Sher Edling’s funding structure is unknown, the firm has for years taken donations from a pass-through fund managed by the left-wing New Venture Fund, whose individual donors are obscured from public view, meaning donors are able to remain anonymous.

“Big Oil has lied to the American people for decades about the catastrophic climate risks of their products, and now Chicago and communities across the country are rightfully insisting they pay for the damage they’ve caused,” said Richard Wiles, the president of the Center for Climate Integrity, which has advocated for the lawsuits.

“With Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, joining the fray, there is no doubt that we are witnessing a historic wave of lawsuits that could finally hold Big Oil accountable for the climate crisis they knowingly caused.”

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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