Environmental lawyers challenge BC municipal candidates to protect taxpayers, hold fossil fuel industry accountable for climate costs

VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – Today, lawyers at the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation released two resources aimed at promoting discussion in BC’s local government elections about the climate costs – wildfires, flooding, drought – being experienced by BC communities, and the need for local governments to hold the fossil fuel industry responsible for its share of those costs.

“With Lower Mainland municipalities facing billions of dollars of costs to prepare for rising sea levels and interior communities dealing with flooding and wildfires for two years running, it is time for taxpayers to ask: who is paying for all of this?” said Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer. “Fiscally responsible leaders do not blindly sign cheques for climate costs without also having a conversation about the massive profits that Chevron, Exxon and other fossil fuel companies have made in selling the products that create those costs.”

West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation released Climate Law in our Hands – A Candidates’ Brief, which provides an overview of the public policy and legal issues concerning corporate climate justice for candidates interested in running on the issue. The brief outlines how communities in BC and internationally have been working to hold fossil fuel companies accountable, including the 15 BC local governments that have voted to send letters to fossil fuel companies demanding accountability and over a dozen U.S. local governments that are suing the same companies.

In addition, West Coast Environmental Law and Georgia Strait Alliance have released a Corporate Climate Justice survey for local government candidates in the Georgia Strait region. The survey asks the candidates to indicate how they will work to identify and protect taxpayers from climate costs, including by seeking to ensure that fossil fuel companies pay a share. The results of the survey will be published on the Georgia Strait Alliance website.

“We face a rising tide of climate costs, and it’s just going to get worse,” said Gage. “Taxpayers will pay a share of those costs, but right now the assumption is that taxpayers are paying 100%, while the industry that made billions of dollars causing climate change pays nothing. We need local government officials who will forcefully challenge that assumption.”

View the Candidates’ Brief and the Corporate Climate Justice Survey


For more information, please contact:

Andrew Gage | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
250-412-9784 or 250-380-8207 (cell), agage@wcel.org

Anjali Appadurai | Climate Communications & Engagement Specialist, West Coast Environmental Law
604-328-6443, anjali_appadurai@wcel.org

To learn more about Climate Law in our Hands, see www.wcel.org/program/climate-law-in-our-hands