Bucks County joins other local governments in suing oil industry over climate change

FILE - Yardley Makefield Marine Rescue leaving the Yardley Boat Ramp along N. River Road heading down the Delaware River on Monday morning July 17, 2023, in Yardley, Pa. Bucks County' has joined dozens of other local governments around the country, Tuesday, March 26, 2024, in suing the oil industry, asserting that major oil producers systematically deceived the public about their role in accelerating global warming. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, File)

By Ashley Adams

March 27, 2024

Bucks County is the first local government in Pennsylvania to sue oil companies, alleging the oil industry deceived the public about their role in accelerating global warming.

Bucks County has joined dozens of other local governments across the country in suing the oil industry, saying that major oil producers systematically deceived the public about their role in accelerating global warming.

The county’s lawsuit against six oil companies blames the industry for more frequent and intense storms — including one last summer that killed seven people there — flooding, saltwater intrusion, extreme heat “and other devastating climate change impacts” from the burning of fossil fuels. The county wants oil producers to pay to mitigate the damage caused by climate change.

“These companies have known since at least the 1950s that their ways of doing business were having calamitous effects on our planet, and rather than change what they were doing or raise the alarm, they lied to all of us,” Bucks County Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo said in a statement. “The taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for these companies and their greed.”

Local governments in states such as California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico as well as eight states and Washington, D.C., have filed suit in recent years against oil and gas companies over their role in climate change, according to the Center for Climate Integrity.

Bucks County is the first local government in Pennsylvania to sue. The county’s 31 municipalities will spend $955 million through 2040 to address climate change impacts, the group forecast last year.

Residents and businesses “should not have to bear the costs of climate change alone,” the county argued in its suit, filed Monday in county court. It cited several extreme weather events in Bucks County, including a severe storm in July that dumped seven inches of rain in 45 minutes and caused a deadly flash flood.

The suit named as defendants BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Philips 66, Shell and the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group.

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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