Manufacturers applaud Fort Lauderdale for refusing to join baseless litigation against energy manufacturers over climate change. “We have no intention of filing a lawsuit,” Fort Lauderdale city attorney Alain Boileau told the media on May 6th, as reported in the Florida Record, Florida Politics, and the Daily Caller.
The announcement comes despite intense lobbying by groups such as EarthRights International, a D.C.-based activist group on the frontline of using lawsuits against private companies to address climate change policies. According to reports, ERI joined forces with the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development to try to convince Fort Lauderdale to file such a lawsuit. The pro-lawsuit coalition was represented by Miami Beach lobbyist Seth Platt of LSN Partners.
Fort Lauderdale’s refusal to bite is good news for the city’s residents and the broader Florida economy. These lawsuits do nothing to help the environment but they do stand to make our household electricity bills, the gasoline for our cars and other important sources of energy more expensive.
This point was underscored in a February opinion column by Julio Fuentes, president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “They think we can sue our way around this challenge, but litigation would only mire our state in counter-productive confrontations with employers when cooperation on finding solutions is needed,” Fuentes explained.
Tom Feeney, president and CEO of the Associated Industries of Florida, and NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons also weighed in, stating, “These law firms are working on a contingency basis, meaning if they were to win, they’d rake in millions of dollars, at the expense of manufacturing workers in Florida and beyond.”
Meanwhile, several Florida voices have highlighted the approach taken by new Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has focused on practical solutions to climate change. Barney Bishop, former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, reinforced this point, noting that manufacturers are an important part of the climate change solution.
“The truth is that climate change doesn’t have to be about environment versus business, because the contribution to the economy from manufacturers is actually growing while emissions are falling,” Bishop argued. “We’re all winning.”
Manufacturers in America are making incredible strides to do their part in combating climate change. Between 2005 and 2015, manufacturers reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by over 10 percent while increasing their value to the economy by 19 percent, and their reductions are continuing. Fort Lauderdale deserves credit for resisting the climate liability racket and recognizing that working with manufacturers, not suing them, is the only way to make a difference.
Other locales being lobbied by environmental groups and trial lawyers should follow Fort Lauderdale’s lead.