Honolulu officially files suit against fossil fuel industry

Contact: Marti Townsend
Telephone: 808-372-1314
Email: marti.townsend@sierraclub.org

HONOLULU, HAWAIʻI (March 9, 2020) — Today, Honolulu officially filed its lawsuit against the fossil fuel companies that misled the public about the connection between their products and the climate crisis, resulting in significant damage to public and private property and harm to people across the island of Oʻahu. Already, Honolulu faces over $13 billion in private infrastructure and land lost to 3 feet of sea level rise, and those costs will continue to rise in the near future.

In response, Lauren Watanabe, the Sierra Club Oʻahu Group’s Manager offered this response: 

This is a significant and brave step towards holding the bad actors in the climate crisis  accountable for the harm they are causing to the people of Oʻahu. 

This is a simple question of right and wrong. The biggest fossil fuel companies knew the true harm their products cause, and instead of fixing it they chose to lie about it for 50 years. This is no different than the lies the tobacco companies told people about the health of their products–an illegal act that they were held responsible for. Now it is time for these wealthy corporations to pay for the damage their lies caused to our island home. Honolulu is expecting over $28 billion in costs to protect its people from the mounting destruction of the climate crisis. Those costs should be paid for by the fossil fuel companies that lied for profit, not the hard-working taxpayers of Honolulu.

The Sierra Club commends the City & County of Honolulu for taking this bold action in the face of the climate crisis. 

Additional Information

Link to complaint filed today in the First Circuit Court of the State of Hawaiʻi: https://www.resilientoahu.org/honoluluvsfossilfuelcompanies

Link to the Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study: https://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/FACULTY/ITO/GG740/Hawaii_state_Sealevel_Report.pdf