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Slocan Council votes unanimously to join Sue Big Oil

The Village of Slocan has joined four other BC municipalities in a quest to ‘Sue Big Oil.’

The Sue Big Oil campaign is a project working towards a class-action lawsuit against global fossil fuel companies. A media release from West Coast Environmental Law, the secretariat of Sue Big Oil, said that the initiative seeks to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the costs of climate change.

Slocan Council voted 5-0 on Monday in favour of joining the campaign, pledging $1.00 per resident into a fund to work towards the lawsuit once other local governments join.

The release states that the Village of Slocan is the first municipality in BC’s interior to make such a pledge and the fifth municipality in the province, alongside Squamish and the Towns of Gibsons, Qualicum Beach, and View Royal.

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“The Slocan Valley is at grave risk of devastating wildfires in a warming world. Wildfire management is terribly expensive, and while our local governments try to do what is needed to keep us safe, they have a small tax base and cannot afford the escalating costs associated with wildfire management and other climate change impacts,” said West Kootenay Climate Hub coordinator Laura Sacks.

The proposed lawsuit is described in the release as one similar to a provincial lawsuit against Big Tobacco, which saw the province successfully authorize the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Cost Recovery Act in 2005, according to the BC government’s website.

“Similar to the successful lawsuits against Big Tobacco and Big Pharma, Big Oil should be forced to pay for the climate harms that they are causing Slocan and other communities,” said West Coast Environmental Law climate accountability strategist Fiona Koza, in the release.

“The fossil fuel industry knew in the 1950s and 60s that their products would cause climate damage to communities around the world, but they chose to massively expand their production and made trillions of dollars in profits while undermining climate science, spreading misinformation, and blocking climate action.”

The Sue Big Oil campaign has been endorsed by 40 organizations in BC, with Sue Big Oil volunteer action teams in over a dozen BC communities.

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