While the fossil fuel industry thrived under former President Donald Trump, the major oil companies included in the industry will undoubtedly face new and potentially devastating challenges under President Joe Biden.
However, according to the Washington Examiner, a handful of major oil companies responsible for the refinement of the bulk of America’s oil received good news this week as the U.S. Supreme Court handed them a much-needed win with regard to a lawsuit filed against them by the city of Baltimore, regarding damages the city claims they owed due to climate change issues.
Baltimore sued a long list of both American and foreign oil companies, arguing that the emissions from such companies negatively impact climate change. With Baltimore being a port city, attorneys argued that the city is more susceptible to sea-level rises as a result of the perceived climate change impact.
The 7-1 decision, authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, essentially ruled that oil companies like BP PLC, Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., and Royal Dutch Shell PLC can make their cases in federal courts as opposed to state courts, which they greatly prefer.
Oil companies have long argued that such cases are a federal matter, as issues of emissions and greenhouse gases, which inevitably cross state and international lines, can’t be properly addressed in a state court.
The high court wrote that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit failed to allow the oil companies to make the argument to have their cases heard in federal court, as opposed to state-level courts, which Baltimore would have preferred.
The SCOTUS ruling will undoubtedly have an impact on the entire oil industry, as there are many additional oil companies locked in similar lawsuits filed by various cities and states across the country.
According to Reuters, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only dissenting justice in the case. Conservative Justice Samuel Alito recused himself from the case, presumably given his financial positions in at least two of the oil companies involved.
Oil and gas companies — critical to the nation but constantly under attack by the left — might have a tough road ahead until another Trump-like conservative president is elected, but at least they can breathe a sigh of relief now, knowing that they won’t be restricted to facing the potential bias of a state-level court in such matters.