NJ’s Absurd Lawsuit Against Big Oil Only Benefits Posturing Politicians

Not to be left out of the left’s war on energy, New Jersey has become the latest government to sue big oil companies, saying they are hiding information showing oil use leads to natural disasters climate-related, resulting in billions of dollars in damage.

The lawsuit targets ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and, for good measure, the American Petroleum Institute, claiming they violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act via disinformation campaigns. It will almost certainly fail – as will several similar lawsuits alleging the same deceptions (including one by Mayor Bill de Blasio) – but will still harm efforts to boost investment and oil production in the United States. United.

The plaintiffs’ argument goes beyond stretching: they claim that the oil companies knew that burning oil would accelerate climate change, but hid the fact. This meant more climate disasters, costing communities billions of dollars in damage.

Hello? The whole world has been burning oil and other fossil fuels for centuries. Why are these oil companies to blame? There is also no agreement on the extent of the damage caused by climate change, let alone how much these companies have “caused”.

More importantly, the world Needs their products and keep on going to use them voluntarily, especially since it lacks a sufficient supply of any reliable and economically viable alternative. (New Jersey itself has many state vehicles that still run on gasoline.) Be glad they met public demand.

Moreover, as Phil Goldberg of the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project argues, the courts are « not the appropriate places to decide climate policy. » They cannot « take into account important aspects of US energy policy, including affordability for families and businesses, and energy security. »

Even President Joe Biden, who has vowed to ‘end’ fossil fuels, has threatened consequences for companies that don’t pump After oil. Companies are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

For posture pols, however, the suits are a win-win, even if the courts keep tossing them around. They are building their anti-fossil fuel credibility with climate warriors. And outside groups — like the shadowy Collective Action Fund, funded by deep-pocketed left-wing organizations — are bearing the legal costs.

And if the courts ever rule for the pols, plaintiffs like New Jersey could win billions. (The lawyers representing them, often from a law firm called Sher Edling, would take a big cut.)

Yet customers end up paying: “expensive” judgments against companies can raise the cost of gas by as much as 31 cents a gallon, reports the Lawsuit Reform Alliance. And, again, these cases do nothing to encourage investment in oil production to boost supply and keep prices low; completely the opposite.

So if the Garden Staters like paying $5 a gallon for gas, they should applaud Gov. Phil Murphy and his attorney general Matthew Platkin for their legal theatrics. If not, they should remember that when they next vote.


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