Three Colorado communities said Tuesday they will sue two international oil and gas companies, demanding the companies “pay their fair share of the costs associated with climate change impacts,” reports the Denver Business Journal.
The announcement from the three communities claimed “Suncor and Exxon have known about the costly consequences of fossil fuel use for more than 50 years. Yet they continued to promote and sell their products, while recklessly deceiving the public and policymakers about the dangers.”
The suit against Suncor Energy Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. was to be filed in Boulder County District Court by the end of Tuesday, a Boulder County spokesperson said. Boulder County posted a copy of the suit on its website, but it didn’t have a stamp from the court indicating the date and time it had been filed.
The plaintiffs are Boulder County Commissioners and the San Miguel County Commissioners and the city of Boulder. San Miguel County is on Colorado’s Western Slope; the county seat is Telluride.
“Our communities and our taxpayers should not shoulder the cost of climate change adaptation alone. These oil companies need to pay their fair share,” Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones said in a statement.
The announcement said the three communities over the next 30 years “will face at least” $100 million in costs “to deal with the impacts of climate change caused by the use of fossil fuel products like those made, and sold by Suncor and Exxon.”
Suncor is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The company owns and operates Colorado’s sole refinery, in Commerce City, which produces 35 percent of the gasoline consumed in Colorado, 55 percent of the diesel used in the state and also is Colorado’s biggest supplier of asphalt.
Exxon Mobil is based in the Dallas suburb of Irving. Exxon’s website said it has 300,000 acres of natural gas-focused mineral rights in Colorado’s Piceance Basin on the Western Slope.
Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones, who has spoken against oil and gas operations in the county for years, said in a statement that:
“Climate change impacts are already happening and they are only going to get worse. In fact, Colorado is one of the fastest warming states in the nation. Climate change is not just about sea level rise. It affects all of us in the middle of the country as well,” Jones said.