BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - A day after a federal judge dismissed New York City's lawsuit against major oil companies over the alleged effects of climate change, Baltimore City Solicitor Andre M. Davis took aim at 26 companies that transport and market fuels in its waters with similar allegations.
A report in the Baltimore Sun quotes Davis saying, "The founding fathers would approve of this lawsuit. They understood that states and localities have a role to play, and state court judges have an important role to play to ensure that justice is delivered to the people.”
The city will likely try to keep the case out of federal court - where similar claims have been rejected - by arguing the oil companies violated state law.
According to the report in the Baltimore Sun, the city alleges that the companies - including BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Citgo, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil - "knew that emissions from combustion of oil, gas and coal were building up in the atmosphere and trapping heat, and that the greenhouse effect would raise global temperatures and disrupt climate patterns."
In the New York City suit dismissed on Thursday, U.S. District Judge John Keenan held that it is not the job of the judiciary to regulate greenhouse gases. He cited a ruling by a California federal judge who in June dismissed climate change lawsuits brought by San Francisco and Oakland.
Currently, all but one in a recent string of climate change lawsuits are in federal court. Aside from the California cases, others include King County, Wash., Boulder, Colo.
Rhode Island's lawsuit filed earlier this month remains in state court, though the time period for the many defendants to remove it to federal court has not expired.