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New York City Sues Oil Companies

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2018 | Firm News

NEW YORK. New York City is spending money to fight the effects of climate change. As a result of this, Mayor Bill De Blasio recently announced that the city would be suing five oil companies to collect billions of dollars to help the city adjust to changes caused by climate change. According to the New York Times, the city will divest $5 billion in pension funds from fossil fuel companies while also pursuing a lawsuit against the fossil fuel industry. The Nation reports that New York’s lawsuit makes it the largest entity to sue fossil fuel companies for the effects of climate change.

The city claims that the fossil fuel industry was aware that its actions would lead to climate change. Rather than making changes to protect the environment, the companies continued to make profits. Some have compared New York City’s lawsuit to early lawsuits against the tobacco industry. New York isn’t the only city suing the fossil fuel industry. San Francisco has also sued oil companies for changes that the city will need to make to protect residents.

New York State has also been planning to divest investment in companies with a large carbon footprint. De Blasio has been putting political action in place to fight climate change. The administration has also considered charging vehicles tolls when they enter Manhattan, with the goal to reduce vehicle congestion and also make the city more pedestrian and bike friendly.

New York is an excellent entity to sue oil and gas companies because the sheer impact the city has experienced. The damage caused by Hurricane Sandy has been blamed, at least in part, due to climate change. (Sandy caused an estimated $19 billion in damage.) Countless people lost their homes and downtown Manhattan was flooded. City planning has had to take into account changes in flood zones and storm surge risk. All of these changes can be incredibly costly. In fact, acceding to the New York Times, New York City has the highest number of people living in a flood zone, more than any other city in the country. New York is currently in the process of revising its flood maps, a process that could change requirements for certain residents in the city. People who may have not been required to buy flood insurance may have to do so in the future. Many of the people who would be required to purchase flood insurance may not be able to afford it.

Will New York’s lawsuit prove victorious? It likely has a long road ahead, just as the tobacco lawsuits faced a long road. Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein, L.L.P. are personal injury lawyers in New York who are closely watching these lawsuits, as they could have implications for individuals whose lives have been impacted by climate change in New York. After Sandy, basements were flooded, homes were destroyed, and individuals suffered property loss and injuries. If the lawsuit proves effective, individuals may have one more place to turn for compensation after a storm. Visit us at to learn more about how our firm helps accident victims fight for their rights.