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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Inupiat Say Global Warming Is Making Village Fall Into The Sea

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - In a Federal action against ExxonMobil and a host of oil companies,400 Inupiat residents of the Native Village of Kivalina say "global warming is destroying Kivalina and the village thus must be relocated soon or be abandoned and will cease to exist." Kivalina is at the end of a 6-mile barrier reefon the northwest coast of Alaska,70 miles north ofthe Arctic Circle.

The Army Corps of Engineers and GAO "have both concluded that Kivalina must be relocated due to global warming and have estimated the cost to be from $95 million to $400 million," the Inupiat say. They claim ExxonMobil and 22 other oil companies conspired to perpetuate the disaster through misleading advertising, front groups, and other nuisances.

Kivalina is at the end of a 6-mile barrier reef between the Chukchi Sea on the Kivalina and Wulik Rivers on the northwest coast of Alaska. It is 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

"Global warming is destroying Kivalina through the melting of Arctic sea ice that formerly protected the village from winter storms," the complaint states. "The result of the increased storm damage is a massive erosion problem. Houses and buildings are in imminent danger of falling into the sea as the village is battered by storms and its ground crumbles beneath it. ... Critical infrastructure if imminently threatened with permanent destruction. If the entire village is not relocated soon, the village will be destroyed."

Here are the defendants: Exxonmobil Corporation, BP America Inc., BP Products North America Inc., Chevron Corporation, Chevron USA Inc., ConocoPhillips Company, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Shell Oil Company, Peabody Energy Corporation, The AES Corporation, American Electric Power Company Inc., American Electric Power Services Corporation, DTE Energy Company, Duke Energy Corporation, Dynegy Holdings Inc., Edison International, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, Mirant Corporation, NRG Energy, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, Reliant Energy Inc., The Southern Company, and Xcel Energy Inc.

Lead counsel for the Inupiat is Luke Cole with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment of San Francisco.

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