Just the other day Hot Sheet took note of an impending lawsuit by Pueblo County — in conjunction with other government entities nationwide — against the pharmaceutical industry that manufacturers much of the opioids being abused across Middle America. The legal premise: The way the industry makes and markets the prescription drugs, though federally regulated, makes it too easy for them to fall into the wrong hands.
We likened the legal foray to the lawsuits by state governments against Big Tobacco back in the ’90s; the states had contended they wanted compensation for the cost to Medicaid and other programs of treating tobacco’s ill-effects.
Now, state and local governments are eyeing another industry — fossil fuels — as they seek to affix blame for climate change. And it looks like Boulder’s about to get on board.
Reports Michael Sandoval of the oil-and-gas-industry-funded Western Wire:
The City of Boulder is considering “potential costs and risk” associated with launching a lawsuit against oil and gas companies, according to documents obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request.
Boulder’s Mayor, Suzanne Jones, asked the City Attorney’s Office for advice on a possible climate change lawsuit against unnamed energy producers.
That advice is now pending while staff researches the idea. Its inspiration comes from that favorite whipping boy of the political right, the Left Coast, writes Sandoval:
In discussions at the November 14 meeting, City Attorney Tom Carr told the council that the lawsuit would be brought by the unnamed law firm on Boulder’s behalf, pro bono, with other Colorado local governments potentially joining as named parties.
Carr outlined a California model.
“That is, suing under a nuisance or negligence theory in state court, which is what they’ve done in California. Not federal court,” Carr said in video of the council meeting.
What are the odds of success? Where there’s a will there’s a way, and in post-modern America, it seems, that way is through the courts.