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Colorado communities launch lawsuit claiming Suncor climate change damages

CALGARY, A.B. — Three Colorado communities have filed a lawsuit demanding that Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. and U.S. giant Exxon Mobil Corp. “pay their fair share” of costs associated with climate change.

In a U.S. court filing, the communities of Boulder County, San Miguel County and the City of Boulder claim the two oil companies have significant responsibility for climate change that is damaging local roads and bridges, parks and forests, buildings, farming and agriculture, the ski industry and public open space.

A Suncor spokeswoman said the company hadn’t yet received the lawsuit and therefore had no comment. None of the claims have been proven in court.

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In a joint news release, the three claim that the communities will have to spend at least US$100 million over the next three decades to deal with climate change caused by the use of Suncor and Exxon products.

They say that Suncor, which has its U.S. headquarters in Denver, Colo., and supplies about 35 per cent of the state’s gasoline and diesel fuel demand, directly emitted one million tonnes of greenhouse gases in Colorado in 2016.

They also say that Suncor and Exxon have known about the costs of fossil fuel use for more than 50 years but still promote and sell their products while “recklessly deceiving” the public and policymakers.

The Colorado action comes as several U.S. municipal governments including San Francisco and New York pursue lawsuits against big oil companies for allegedly contributing to global warming.

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