WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden is considering David Frederick, a corporate attorney who has represented Royal Dutch Shell against climate liability lawsuits, to serve as solicitor general, according to a report today from Alexander Kaufman of the Huffington Post.
Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, released the following statement:
“Naming a lawyer who has represented Shell, one the worst and most deceptive climate polluters, as the government’s top legal advocate would be a slap in the face to communities seeking justice for Big Oil’s climate lies and destruction. President-elect Biden pledged to support the growing number of states and localities fighting in court to hold Big Oil companies accountable for their role in causing and lying about the climate crisis. The President-elect needs to honor this commitment. There is no shortage of qualified solicitor general candidates without such deep and troubling ties to the fossil fuel industry. We urge the President-elect to name a solicitor general who will fight for people, not polluters.”
In his climate plan released earlier this year, Biden pledged to order the Department of Justice to “strategically support ongoing plaintiff-driven climate litigation against polluters,” a reference to lawsuits filed against the fossil fuel industry by more than 20 U.S. states and localities.
During a Democratic primary debate in February, Biden said of fossil fuel companies and executives, “if you demonstrate that they, in fact, have done things already that are bad and they’ve been lying, they should be able to be sued, they should be able to be held personally accountable…This is an industry we should be able to sue. We should go after, just like we did the drug companies, just like we did with the tobacco companies.”
Since 2017, 24 communities, including the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island; the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen city and county governments in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Washington have brought lawsuits under different claims to recover billions of dollars in damages caused by the oil and gas industry’s deception about climate change. Learn about those cases here.