“The fossil fuel industry has caused immeasurable harm to our society, and I intend to do everything in my power to make sure that fossil fuel companies pay their fair share for the mess they have caused.” Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes
Seattle, WA – On June 24th 2019, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes alongside activists and Seattle City council members announced their plans to take legal action against the fossil fuel industry.
Fossil fuel companies have known about global warming since the 1970s. Over four decades ago, Exxon scientists told Exxon executives that global warming was being caused by the burning of fossil fuels and would have devastating impacts on our planet. Exxon then spent a good part of the next four decades funneling tens of millions of dollars into climate denial and disinformation campaigns.
To date, thirteen U.S. cities, states or counties have filed legal action against the fossil fuel industry. The 9th Circuit is expected to rule on the San Francisco case in 2020; a decision that will impact the route that City Attorney Holmes takes to hold the industry accountable.
Holmes cited decreased snow-pack, increased wildfires and rising sea levels all impact city operations, which can help his team lay the groundwork for legal action.
“We embrace a diversity of tactics in our efforts to protect our families, Tribes, communities, our non-human relatives and our mother Unci Maka. These capitalist only understand the value of profit, we understand the value of life, so we will go after them in the areas that they value the most, their pocketbook. The climate has changed, environments are already damaged, communities are suffering the consequences from fossil fuel industry greed now. We come together to say no more,” said Matt Remle (Lakota) co-founder of Mazaska Talks.
The City Attorney, local activists from Mazaska Talks and 350 Seattle have been working together to bring the lawsuit against the oil companies for the past couple years.
Watch full press conference here
Following the press conference, council member O’Brien solicited endorsement from all nine council members to support a grassroots community driven effort to pass a Green New Deal for Seattle.
According to a local news report, “The local Green New Deal campaign is calling on City Hall to eliminate Seattle’s climate pollution by 2030, “address historical and current injustices” and create thousands of green, unionized jobs.”
A committee will work throughout the summer crafting a Green New Deal to bring back to the full council.