US Supreme Court Rejects Big Oil Appeal in Climate Suits

Copyright © 2023 Energy Intelligence Group All rights reserved. Unauthorized access or electronic forwarding, even for internal use, is prohibited.

The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Suncor Energy and others to move lawsuits alleging liability for climate change to federal courts.

Oil companies have battled more than two dozen lawsuits at different levels of the US court system seeking climate-related damages for the last several years. In rejecting Big Oil's bid, the Supreme Court is effectively removing a hold on some of those cases in the state court system. The Biden administration has pushed for such cases to be heard in state courts, which are generally seen as more sympathetic to plaintiffs.

The line of litigation usually alleges that oil companies have misled the public about the dangers of burning fossil fuels, and is aimed at seeing such firms held liable for the impacts of climate change under common law claims like public nuisance, consumer protection and fraud. Options for resolving those kinds of claims in federal courts are more limited, which is why oil companies wanted the cases moved from state courts.

The brief order from the Supreme Court notes only that Justice Brett Kavanaugh would have granted the petition to move a suit from Boulder, Colorado to federal courts. The court rejected other cases brought by Baltimore, Maryland; Honolulu, Hawaii; San Mateo, California; and the state of Rhode Island without adding anything about dissents.

While the court rejected the oil companies' bids to change jurisdictions, a lawyer representing Chevron suggested that the cases will ultimately be dismissed.

“Climate change is an issue of national and global magnitude that requires a coordinated federal policy response, not a disjointed patchwork of lawsuits in state courts across multiple states,” said Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr. of of law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. “These wasteful lawsuits in state courts will do nothing to advance global climate solutions, nothing to reduce emissions, and nothing to address climate-related impacts.”

Policy and Regulation
Wanda Ad #2 (article footer)
The move will revert ownership of the block to small independents Ratio Guyana and Cataleya Energy, with Ratio expected to take over operatorship.
Fri, Sep 29, 2023
The heads of the IEA, ECB and EIB discussed how Europe can avoid falling behind its competitors in the transition to low-carbon energy.
Fri, Sep 29, 2023
Moscow says the ban on exports of diesel and gasoline won't end any time soon. It is also weighing further measures to lower domestic fuel prices.
Fri, Sep 29, 2023