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BC municipalities must Sue Big Oil to fight climate change: new campaign

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

VANCOUVER, BC/Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Territories – The Sue Big Oil Campaign launches today with a call on BC local governments to do more to protect their communities from heat waves, wildfires, flooding and other climate impacts, including by suing the fossil fuel companies most responsible.

The Campaign formally begins at noon with an online event hosted by noted journalist Avi Lewis and will feature Laurie van der Burg, a Dutch activist who was active in a successful lawsuit against Shell. Hundreds of people are registered to attend and the campaign has been endorsed by a variety of organizations including the Georgia Strait Alliance, Sierra Club of BC, Sum of Us, Dogwood BC, Climate Emergency Unit and others.

“The heat dome killed 600 people, wildfires burnt whole communities down, flooding cost billions of dollars – our communities saw last year just how much climate change costs us,” said Andrew Gage, a Staff Lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law. “But none of those costs appear on the balance sheets of the huge fossil fuel companies most responsible for causing climate change. Sue Big Oil aims to make Chevron, Shell, BP and other global companies pay their fair share.”

British Columbians are invited to sign the Sue Big Oil Declaration calling on their local government to set aside $1 per person for a community fund to sue Big Oil, to work with other local governments to file a class action lawsuit to recover a fair share of our climate costs, and to work to reduce our fossil fuel use and protect ourselves from future climate impacts.

“We’re building a people-powered network of British Columbians who understand that our communities are under threat from fossil fuel pollution, and that we need our local governments to hold the companies that are making huge profits from causing the climate crisis to account,” said Fiona Koza, Climate Accountability Strategist with West Coast. “Lawsuits against the tobacco and asbestos industries made it clear that if you sell products that harm people and lie about it, you will end up in court. It’s time to Sue Big Oil.”

Just 90 companies are responsible for almost 2/3 of the fossil fuel pollution in the atmosphere. Many of those companies have known for decades that their products would cause climate change and the types of impacts BC suffered last year. They chose to expand their production and their profits instead of providing alternatives. Twenty local governments in the U.S. are currently suing fossil fuel companies for the impacts of climate change.

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For more information, see www.SueBigOil.ca or contact:

Andrew Gage | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
604-601-2506, agage@wcel.org

Fiona Koza | Climate Accountability Strategist, West Coast Environmental Law
604-684-7378, ext. 236, fkoza@wcel.org