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2002-08-29

Global Warming Victims Sue US Banks for Illegally Funding Fossil Fuel Projects

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In an unprecedented legal action, environmental groups, ordinary citizens, and the City of Boulder, Colorado have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of their members and citizens who are victims of global warming.

The suit has been filed against two U.S. government agencies ­ the Export Import Bank (ExIm) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Ex-Im and OPIC provide financing and loans to U.S. corporations for overseas projects that commercial banks deem too risky. They are funded by US taxpayers.

The lawsuit alleges OPIC and ExIm illegally provided over $32 billion in financing and insurance for oil fields, pipelines and coal-fired power plants over the past ten years without assessing their contribution to global warming and their impact on the U.S. environment as required under key provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

NEPA requires all federal agencies to conduct an environmental assessment of programs and project-specific decisions having a significant effect on the human environment.

We’re joined right now by a number of people involved in the lawsuit, including the Mayor of Boulder, Colorado, a North Carolina resident involved in the lawsuit because she fears her retirement property will be lost to storm surges, erosion and a marine biologist who’s life’s work is in jeopardy.

Guests:

  • Brent Blackwelder, President, Friends of the Earth.
  • Dr. Phillip Dustan, marine biologist, University of Charleston, South Carolina and a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
  • Pam Williford, beach property owner in Raleigh, North Carolina and a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
  • Mayor Will Toor, Boulder, Colorado. The city of Boulder is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
  • Jim Vallette, research director of Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies. His research since 1995 makes up a large part of the evidence against the Export Import Bank and OPIC.
  • John Passacantando, Director of Greenpeace.

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