Welcome, again, to the Twilight Zone – California.

Yesterday, I covered the state’s lawsuit to prevent the construction of President Trump’s border wall.

In today’s episode, San Francisco and Oakland filed separate lawsuits against five oil companies, asking for billions of dollars to protect against rising sea levels they blamed on climate change.

The lawsuits, filed in state courts in San Francisco and Alameda Counties, alleged Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp, BP Plc, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, created a public nuisance and asked for funds to finance infrastructure to deal with rising sea levels.

According to a news release from San Francisco city officials, the lawsuits mirror 1980s-era lawsuits against tobacco companies. They allege the oil giants “knowingly and recklessly created an ongoing public nuisance that is causing harm now and in the future risks catastrophic harm to human life and property.”

Legal Insurrection readers will recall that the approach mirrors the one by “Attorneys General United for Clean Power“, of which Senator Kamala Harris was once I member.

Of course, California politicos are blaming President Trump for this action.

“Congress and the Trump administration are AWOL on climate change,” said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, saying the courts were the appropriate venue to address rising sea levels and other climate impacts.

The lawsuits follow those of Marin and San Mateo counties, as well as the San Diego County city of Imperial Beach, to target individual corporations for their alleged contribution to supposed global warming. Personally, I suspect budget shortfalls and the looming pension crisis as the main impetus for our politicians to drill for money from among America’s most successful firms.

Representatives from the five petroleum firms note how frivolous the California cases are:

“Chevron welcomes serious attempts to address the issue of climate change, but these suits do not do that,” said company spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie in an email. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue that requires global engagement and action.”

Eric Wohlschlegel, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute trade group, said the oil and natural gas industry had already made climate change a priority and will “play a leading role in driving down U.S. greenhouse gas and other emissions.”

To quote the classic show:

“This highway leads to the shadowy tip of reality: you’re on a through route to the land of the different, the bizarre, the unexplainable….”

Welcome to The Twilight Zone – California.


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