Until recently, communities suing fossil fuel companies over the costs of climate change have been located on the coasts: cities and counties in California, and New York City. But now, the litigation has jumped inland.
Boulder and San Miguel Counties in Colorado, along with the city of Boulder, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against two oil companies, Exxon Mobil and Suncor Energy, the Canadian giant. The suit, filed in state court, argues that fossil fuels sold by the companies contribute to climate change, which in turn has exacerbated wildfires, droughts, severe storms and other symptoms of a warming planet that have far-ranging effects on agriculture and tourism.
Dealing with these climate-related issues, the suit says, places a burden on local governments. “Our communities and our taxpayers should not shoulder the cost of climate change adaptation alone,” said Suzanne Jones, Boulder’s mayor. “These oil companies need to pay their fair share.”