ExxonMobil Should Have Considered Climate Change Before Polluting River In Boston, Lawsuit Claims

Dino Grandoni, BuzzFeed News

On Thursday, the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit against the largest oil and gas company in the US for leaking pollutants into the Island End and Mystic Rivers in and around Boston…

 

…The Conservation Law Foundation is now trying a new tack, arguing that the company should have known that the rivers’ pollution would be even worse because of climate change….

 

 

…The Conservation Law Foundation argues that ExxonMobil failed to use that foreknowledge to fortify the Everett station against the effects of rising sea levels.

“This is really the first lawsuit in the nation that holds ExxonMobil to account for that deceit,” Brad Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation, told BuzzFeed News. “It focuses on their longstanding knowledge of climate impact and their disregard of the need to protect the communities surrounding the facilities like Everett that are at risk.”

His group claims that severe storms in the Northeast — which between 1958 and 2012 has seen about a 70% increase in rainfall during heavy precipitation, according to the EPA — already allow hazardous wastewater from the Everett station to spill into the river. And recent maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency put parts of the terminal in a flood zone, the lawsuit claims.

The environmental group is going a step further than the attorneys general of US states, including Massachusetts, have in their investigations of ExxonMobil following last year’s news reports. So far, prosecutors have issued subpoenas requesting documents to build a case without yet making any specific charges.

Campbell said his organization is scouting for other oil and gas facilities at risk of being inundated from storms along the New England coast, where sea levels are rising faster than they are elsewhere, according to research published in February….

 

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