View Royal votes to Sue Big Oil for a share of climate costs

Shoreline at Portage Park, View Royal, BC (Photo: John Newcomb)

For Immediate Release – June 7, 2023

VIEW ROYAL, BC – At its Town Council meeting on Tuesday night, June 6th, View Royal Council voted to work with other local governments to bring a class action lawsuit against global fossil fuel companies for a share of municipal climate change costs.

Council agreed to set aside $1 per resident toward the costs of this lawsuit once other local governments are on board, and to encourage other Capital Regional District local governments to join the class action. The View Royal Climate Coalition (VRCC), Sue Big Oil – Capital Region, and West Coast Environmental Law applaud Council’s climate leadership.

“As residents of View Royal, we appreciate that our Council is not simply assuming that we can afford the costs of climate change – and that they are instead looking to recover a fair share from the global fossil fuel companies that have played such a huge role in causing the climate crisis,” said Ian Brown of VRCC. “We are proud of our Council for the climate leadership that they have shown.”

“The other municipalities in the Capital Regional District need to step up and protect their own residents from the rising costs of the climate crisis,” said Penny Crawford, member of the Sue Big Oil – Capital Region campaign. “We’ll be challenging other Mayors and Councils to follow View Royal’s leadership and to work toward the Sue Big Oil class action against Chevron, Shell, Exxon Mobil and others.”

“Solving climate change and dealing with the climate impacts that we already face requires everyone to do, and pay, their fair share. And right now, global fossil fuel companies are continuing to put short-term profits ahead of the health of our communities,” said Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, which is the Secretariat to the Sue Big Oil Campaign. “Just like tobacco and opioid manufacturers, it’s time for Big Oil to pay for the climate harms that they knowingly caused while they delayed climate action.”

In 2018 the Town of View Royal wrote to twenty of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies, highlighting concerns about the impacts and costs of climate change on the community and suggesting that those companies take “cradle to grave responsibility” for the harm that their products cause.

The Sue Big Oil campaign was launched in June 2022 and is endorsed by over two dozen organizations. View Royal is the second BC local government, after Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, currently committed to working with other local governments to bring a class action lawsuit. Over 28 Canadian law professors have written to BC local governments encouraging them to consider bringing this type of lawsuit, and there are over 40 local and state governments bringing similar litigation in the U.S.



Andrew Gage | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
604-601-2506, agage@wcel.org 

Fiona Koza | Climate Accountability Strategist, West Coast Environmental Law
604-684-7378, ext. 236, fkoza@wcel.org

Top photo: Shoreline at Thetis Cove, Portage Park in View Royal, BC (Photo by John Newcomb via Wikimedia Commons)