Colorado Exxon Mobil suit shows climate concerns not unique to coasts

Emily Chasan April 18, 2018

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- Most cities suing oil companies over the impact of climate change want help paying for walls to protect against rising sea levels. And then there’s Boulder, Colorado.

The politically liberal town known as the gateway to the Rocky Mountains and two counties in the same neck of the woods said Colorado’s economy depends on snow, water and cool weather when they accused Exxon Mobil and Suncor Energy of  causing and exacerbating climate change in a state-court lawsuit filed Tuesday.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue and requires global participation and actions,” Exxon Mobil spokesman Scott Silvestri said in an email. "Lawsuits like this -- filed by trial attorneys against an industry that provides products we all rely upon to power the economy and enable our domestic life -- simply do not do that." Suncor didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Colorado communities said they’re facing expenses and costs related to earlier snow melt, which has increased the risk of forest fires, dried-out soil, beetle outbreaks and drought.

The lawsuit joins others against fossil fuel companies filed by California and New York communities, but this is the first brought by an interior state. “Colorado is one of the fastest-warming states in the nation," Elise Jones, Boulder County Commissioner said in a statement. "Climate change is not just about sea level rise. It affects all of us in the middle of the country as well."

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