by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The District of Columbia municipal government is exploring an environmentalist lawsuit against oil providers despite buying more than 1 million gallons of gasoline in 2018.
A Washington Free Beacon analysis of invoices obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all wholesale purchases for city vehicles found that D.C. paid for more than 1 million gallons of fuel in 2018 alone. The city’s consumption of fossil fuels did not stop lawmakers from exploring potential lawsuits against the very companies it purchased fuel from. In March 2019, the district attorney general’s office put out a request for bids from outside attorneys to investigate and possibly sue major energy producers such as Exxon for reasons linked to climate change.
The bid alleges “Exxon has failed to inform consumers about the effects of its fossil fuel products on climate change.” Steve Berman, one of the attorneys representing New York City in its public nuisance lawsuit against Exxon and other energy companies, was among the lawyers that received the bid. D.C. is just the latest city to go after energy companies. In 2017, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, along with other smaller governments in California, were the first to file nuisance tort claims against energy companies, asking the court to order the creation of remediation funds to pay for damages.