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Hawaiʻi judge OKs first-in-the-nation civil trial against oil companies for climate change impacts

A Chevron customer pumps gas into his car in 2009 in Greenbrae, Calif. Chevron is acquiring Anadarko Petroleum for $33 billion in cash and stock.
A Chevron customer pumps gas into his car in 2009 in Greenbrae, Calif.

A Hawaiʻi state judge has paved the way for a first-in-the-nation civil trial over whether the oil industry deceived the public about the effects of climate change.

According to final orders posted this week, Hawaiʻi Circuit Judge Jeffrey Crabtree dismissed attempts by oil companies such as Chevron, Shell and Exxon to throw out the lawsuit.

The City and County of Honolulu and Board of Water Supply are suing the companies for downplaying the effects of their fossil fuel products on climate change.

Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters says the ruling is a big win for local residents, as the city faces steep costs moving infrastructure away from coastal flood zones.

He says the oil companies should pay for those costs.

The lawsuit will now go to state court.

Scott Kim is a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact him at skim@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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