More than four years have passed since Hurricane Katrina hit the south, and many residents still suffer today. One group of Mississippi victims aims to get compensated by the folks they believe are responsible for all that property damage–multinational corporations. News-wire service Agence-France Presse (AFP) recently spied documents indicating that southern Mississippi residents are attempting to sue a group of greenhouse gas-emitting corporations through a class-action lawsuit. The group argues that major emitters like Shell and Chevron are to blame for fueling global warming and spurring Hurricane Katrina.
The lawsuit, which was originally filed back in 2005, was initially squashed by a district court. But this fall, three federal appeals court judges agreed that the case could be heard. Last month, the same court decided to re-examine the case, this time with nine judges present. These judges will set a hearing date in the next three months and plan to make a decision about whether the case can progress by the end of the year.
Residents seek compensation from Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Honeywell, American Electric Power and other major corporations. The plaintiffs claim these companies had a responsibility to avoid endangering environmental and human health, as well as personal and public property.
Greenhouse gas emitters like Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron definitely need someone to keep them in check. However, with no laws on the books limiting these corporations’ emissions, it seems unlikely that a judge would rule in favor of the plaintiffs. Still, a landmark case like this draws attention to climate change’s role in creating fiercer, more unpredictable storms. Perhaps sparking a dialogue will create a bigger push for much-needed climate legislation that will keep multinationals’ emissions in check.
Via Yahoo! Green