Maui County files suit against 20 fossil fuel companies over climate change

Maui County files suit against 20 fossil fuel companies over climate change
Maui County has seen coastal erosion and changes to natural resources. (Source: Maui County)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The County of Maui is suing 20 fossil fuel companies over climate change impacts. 

The complaint, which was filed Monday, alleges the companies hid the dangers posed by their products for decades in order to maximize profits. 

Maui county says as a result of climate change ocean levels are rising the wildfire season is now year-round.

“Maui County is vulnerable to rising sea levels, with four islands and nearly 300 miles of coastline,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “We see the impacts of climate change every day with chronic drought and more intense and sustained heat waves turning our open spaces into wildfire tinderboxes.”

Nearly 26,000 acres burned last year, which is more than six times the amount in 2018. Honolulu and many cities on the mainland have filed similar suits.

The complaint asserts five causes of action including public and private nuisance, strict liability for failure to warn, negligent failure to warn and trespass. It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

“It might be a David vs Goliath case, but someone has to take a stand and oil companies need to pay for the damage they knowingly caused,” Mayor Victorino said. “Our ‘rock’ is science, which clearly shows the impacts of burning fossil fuels have led to sea level rise and other environmental impacts that will get worse, perhaps much worse, in the years ahead.”

To read the complaint in full, click here.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.