POWELL RIVER - The Regional District and the City of Powell River are calling on Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and 17 other fossil fuel companies to pay a fair share of their local climate change costs. The Powell River Regional District voted on Thursday, March 29th in a unanimous vote, to send a “climate accountability letter” to the fossil fuel giants. This vote comes on the heels of a similar 5-1 vote by the City of Powell River on Thursday, March 15th.
These two local governments are the first on BC’s mainland to join five communities from southern Vancouver Island – Highlands, Saanich, Victoria, Colwood and View Royal – that have previously sent letters to fossil fuel corporations. In addition, this is the first time that a Regional District has voted to send a letter. The actions of these local governments collectively challenge the assumption that their taxpayers alone will pay for the costs of preparing for climate change.
“We’re a coastal community, and much of our city waterfront is going to be flooded by rising seas if we don’t act,” said Don Fodor of Climate Action Powell River, a local group that campaigned in favour of the letters. “I am proud as a resident of Powell River when I see our City and Regional District moving to insist the fossil fuel industry start taking responsibility for the true costs of their products. We invite other environmental groups and communities to join us in correcting this injustice.”
“Fossil fuel companies have too long assumed that they can make massive profits from selling fossil fuels while outsourcing the costs to our communities,” said Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law. “By sending these letters, the local governments of Powell River are talking about how the fossil fuel economy plays a key role in the increased threats facing their community.”
Climate Action Powell River and West Coast Environmental Law, are just three of the more than 60 BC-based organizations that have called on BC local governments to send climate accountability letters and to consider future litigation against the fossil fuel industry. Governments throughout North America are waking up to the reality that climate change is going to cost taxpayers unless fossil fuel companies are made to pay their fair share of those costs. In recent months, several cities in the U.S., including New York City and San Francisco, have sued fossil fuel companies for climate costs and the Ontario legislature has begun debate on a law to expand the liability of fossil fuel companies for climate impacts.
According to polling commissioned by West Coast Environmental Law, 75% of British Columbians support their local government sending climate accountability letters. Fossil fuel pollution caused by the operations and products of just 20 major companies represents about 30% of human-caused greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere today.
For more information, please contact:
Don Fodor | Climate Action Powell River
(604) 487-9043, email@example.com
Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer | West Coast Environmental Law
Anjali Appadurai, Campaigner | West Coast Environmental Law
For more on communities that have sent Climate Accountability Letters, see www.wcel.org/campaign-update.