We can’t forget that this crisis, and the financial burden it places on taxpayers, wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Internal documents show that oil and gas companies knew for decades that the burning of fossil fuels would lead to catastrophic consequences. Instead of warning the public, they spent millions lying about climate change in order to protect their bottom line.
When I first learned about the deception of oil and gas companies, I was furious. I don’t want to see New Jersey taxpayers get stuck with a multi-billion dollar bill to protect homes, families, jobs, economies, infrastructure and public health from the impacts of climate change. Instead, I want to see New Jersey and state leaders join the fight to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable.
Municipal leaders here are taking action. The city of Hoboken, which faces existential threats from flooding, has filed a lawsuit seeking to make fossil fuel companies pay their fair share. But we know that not every community is going to have the resources to take action on their own.
Some of neighboring states, like Connecticut and Delaware, have already taken legal action against fossil fuel companies. These lawsuits are not about solving climate change; they’re about surviving it and holding accountable those who are most responsible. As one of the most climate-vulnerable states, New Jersey cannot afford to remain on the sidelines.