Former Governor of Virginia and U.S. Senator George Allen authored a Virginian-Pilot op-ed this past weekend that highlighted the threat ongoing public nuisance lawsuits pose to the Commonwealth’s strong manufacturing base which had a total output of $42.12 billion in 2016, employing over 229,000 workers at an average annual compensation of $68,907.
Calling the climate lawsuits “nonsense,” Allen writes:
“Across America today—from Rhode Island to California and as nearby as neighboring Maryland—specialty trial lawyers and politicians are teaming up to sue manufacturers. These particular lawyers want to hit the jackpot somewhere before some judge. Some politicians want to make headlines. Imagine that. These nuisance lawsuits try to hold energy manufacturers liable for weather and climate change. We all want clean air, water and land but these lawsuits are nonsense.”
After detailing how the courts have repeatedly ruled that these climate lawsuits do not belong in the courts, Allen outlines what’s at stake for Virginia and what its citizens can do to take a stand against plaintiffs’ lawyers looking for a big payday at the expense of manufacturers:
“The fact is, these lawsuits will not do a thing to improve or protect the environment. But they will waste government officials’ time at taxpayer expense. They will cost manufacturers. And they do put manufacturing jobs at risk. If one of these cases were to somehow succeed lawyers would be falling all over themselves to sue all sorts of manufacturers for all sorts of perceived harms—hoping to hit the jackpot.
So, what does this have to do with Virginia? Virginians should urge our mayors and all local officials to stay vigilant. They should refuse to allow our cities and counties to be taken advantage of—and used for these lawsuits. When lawyers come knocking, shopping around these nuisance lawsuits, they should say ‘our city/county is open for business, not against jobs and opportunities’.”
The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will continue to push back against this abuse of the legal system and defend manufacturers across the nation against attempts to undermine the manufacturing sector.