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Inside the Left's Spurious Legal Strategy To Take Down Oil and Gas Producers

Meghan Blonder   
January 22, 2024

Last summer, the leaders of Multnomah County—the liberal Oregon enclave that includes most of Portland—filed a high-profile lawsuit seeking $1.5 billion in damages from the world's top oil and gas producers. Exxon, Shell, BP, and others, county leaders argued in their complaint, knew that their "fossil fuel products" caused "catastrophic harm" but told the public otherwise, thus making those companies liable for a heat wave that struck the Beaver State in 2021.

The county's complaint made reference to "the world's largest oil companies" and laid out their "international operations," through which the companies produce millions of barrels of oil per day. Left-wing media coverage of the suit also emphasized the defendants' global reach: The Guardian said the suit targeted "major oil and gas companies," while Mother Jones touted the county's work to take on "Big Oil."

One defendant included in the county's complaint, however, was not mentioned in those stories. That defendant, Space Age Fuel, is not among "the world's largest oil companies." Its operations are also not "international"—they're limited to the Pacific Northwest. And unlike the other defendants named in the suit, Space Age produces no oil. The company operates a chain of Oregon gas stations and transports fuel around the state.

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