CIEL Statement on API and AFPM’s Motions to Withdraw from Landmark Our Children’s Trust Case

May 26, 2017

Late Thursday evening, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers (AFPM) filed unilateral motions to withdraw as Intervenor Defendants in the landmark Juliana v. United States climate case. This follows a similar move to withdraw by intervenor defendant National Association of Manufacturers last Monday.

Carroll Muffett, President of the Center for International Environmental Law, issued the following statement.

“API and AFPM, in their attempt to withdraw as intervenor defendant from Juliana v. United States, demonstrate precisely the kind of belligerent disregard for consequences that gives rise to the climate crisis underlying the case. The oil and gas industry groups, along with the National Association of Manufacturers, demanded to be joined as defendants against the youth plaintiffs when they thought they could win easily and keep the case from ever being considered on its merits. They argued that the case could not be resolved without addressing the role of oil and gas in climate change—and in the economy. And after forcing their way into the litigation, API and AFPM deployed their immense legal and financial resources to quashing it. Unfortunately for the oil and gas industry—and fortunately for the rest of us—its gambit backfired. Now that discovery, legal consequences, and public accountability are all on the table, API and AFPM are looking for an escape route, days after NAM sought the same. The fact that the industry groups would so brazenly seek to withdraw without responding to a single discovery request speaks volumes about the potential significance of this case and the oil and gas industry’s reluctance to expose its climate secrets.

“The court should not allow these industry actors to cut and run now that they must engage substantively on issues dealing with their own history of complicity in exacerbating the climate crisis. The plaintiffs and the public have a right to see this case brought to its conclusion. API and AFPM demanded the right to defend themselves in court; now they must do so.”