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Manufacturers oppose Chicago’s climate lawsuit

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(The Center Square) – Manufacturers are pushing back after the City of Chicago filed lawsuits against oil and gas companies over climate issues.

City officials claim that the defendants intentionally misled Chicago residents about climate-related dangers.

Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, said manufacturers are actually taking a leading role to combat climate change.

“Illinois manufacturers (and nationally) are addressing climate change. We’ve reduced emissions more than any other sector since 1990,” Denzler said.

In addition, Denzler said, the lawsuit deflects focus away from serious issues in Chicago, like crime and education.

“This has been litigated again and again around the country, and when these lawsuits have been filed, they’ve been unsuccessful,” Denzler said.

The city’s complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County. It names the American Petroleum Institute as a defendant, along with six oil and gas companies.

“When you sue an entity, you’re going to increase the cost,” Denzler said. “We’re in agreement with the mayor and the city of Chicago. We want to reduce our carbon emissions, and manufacturers have been at the leading edge of that for decades. As I said, the data shows that we’ve reduced emissions more than any other sector.”

The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, representing gas stations and convenience stores, issued a statement which said, “The City of Chicago has collected more than $1.3 billion in motor fuel taxes from the very products and companies they are now suing.”

Denzler said the lawsuit might cost the city’s taxpayers money.

“It certainly could cost the taxpayers in the legal bills. Again, this is purely a political calculation to deflect from issues like the immigration concern, the crime problems, housing and education that occur in the city of Chicago,” Denzler said.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Phillips 66, Shell, and the American Petroleum Institute.