Oregon’s Multnomah County is suing oil and gas companies for their role in the 2021 heat dome, claiming in a lawsuit filed Thursday that emissions from the companies played a significant role in causing the extreme heat event during several days in late June and early July 2021.
The county, which includes the city of Portland, is seeking more than $51B in damages to pay for costs associated with future extreme heat events as well as to study, plan and “weatherproof” against extreme heat.
Chevron (CVX) said in a statement that the lawsuit makes “novel, baseless claims,” is unconstitutional and unfairly targets “one industry and group of companies engaged in lawful activity that provides tremendous benefits to society.”
Temperatures during the 2021 heat dome event soared to a record-shattering high of 116 degrees Fahrenheit, causing extensive property damage and resulting in the deaths of 69 people.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear requests by Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and others to move lawsuits filed by state and local governments accusing the oil companies of exacerbating climate change out of state courts and into federal courts.