A joint lawsuit between Anne Arundel County and Annapolis against fossil fuel companies has been allowed to proceed in state court.
Long-time readers of Conduit Street will remember that back in April of 2021, Anne Arundel County and Annapolis jointly sued 25 fossil fuel organizations to hold them accountable for costs the County is incurring to battle the consequences of climate change. Over the objections of the fossil fuel interests, last month a federal judge allowed that suit to proceed in Maryland court. While this is a major victory, the road ahead still remains long. In her ruling, the judge cited other cases brought by states and local governments which were allowed to proceed. Nearly all of those other cases are still working their way through the judicial system.
Anne Arundel County’s more than 530 miles of shoreline make it particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including inland and coastal flooding, sea-level rise, and storm surge. The lawsuit seeks to ensure the local financial burden of these companies’ actions does not fall solely on County taxpayers, workers, and businesses.
The County’s lawsuit includes causes of action involving public and private nuisance, among other claims. The County is seeking compensatory and punitive damages along with abatement of nuisances, among other remedies.