BATON ROUGE — The president of the Louisiana Midcontinent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) praised a California federal judge's decision to throw out lawsuits filed against big oil for allegations of climate change.
"It's important to remember courts review cases on legal merit," Chris John said in an interview with The Louisiana Record. "To see a decision like this is encouraging."
John said pointless lawsuits are distracting from what is important.
"More importantly, I hope this deters others from filing pointless suits to distract us from the positive impacts oil and gas have on the economy and the communities where we operate," he said.
The lawsuits were initially filed in Superior Court of Alameda, California, on Sept. 19. They were removed to federal court Oct. 20. San Francisco and Oakland filed the suits, against Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell.
"Global warming is here and it is harming Oakland now," one of the lawsuits said.
The lawsuits alleged global warming causes has accelerated sea level rise through thermal expansion of ocean water and melting of land-based ice.
"Sea levels are rising at rates unprecedented in the history of human civilization due to global warming," it stated. "Global warming-induced sea level rise already is causing flooding of low-lying areas of Oakland that border the San Francisco Bay, increased shoreline erosion, and saltwater impacts to water treatment systems."
District Judge William Alsup tossed out the allegations June 25, ruling that Congress was better suited to address climate change.
The cities alleged that the oil companies affected climate change and should pay for infrastructure to protect the environment. The lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Several similar lawsuits later were filed by New York and several other California counties and cities.