Litigation

LITIGATION

States, towns, and cities are litigating against fossil fuel companies for knowingly accelerating global warming. Kids are litigating against the federal government for endangering their futures. Investors are litigating against corporations for putting the value of their stock in jeopardy. Employees are suing corporations for deceiving them about climate change. Climate protesters are suing to preserve their rights to civil disobedience.

Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it’s a social justice issue, too. It is important to recognize that the people most affected by climate change are often those who have contributed least to its progression. People are recognizing that environmental mismanagement and obstruction of climate action are an infringement on their rights.

MakeThemPay - NY vs ExxonMobil

CREDIT: 350.org

CURRENT NEWS

Big Oil Is Weaponizing The First Amendment

By Emily Sanders 01/10/24
For years, the fossil fuel industry has maintained that the First Amendment protects its right to mislead the public about the climate crisis, but that criticism and protest of its operations violates the law. Now,…
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Pepco to pay D.C. more than $57 million for Anacostia River pollution

By Justin Wm. Moyer 10/03/23
Pepco will pay more than $57 million to the District after the electric utility discharged toxic chemicals in the city for decades, polluting the Anacostia River and other areas.
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California opens the floodgates on Big Oil

09/18/23
The state of California just launched a game-changing climate lawsuit against oil majors, bringing the weight of one of the world’s largest economies and the most populous state in the nation to bear against some…
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API, State of Louisiana, Chevron U.S.A. Inc. Challenge Lease Sale 261 Final Notice of Sale

08/24/23
The American Petroleum Institute (API) today joined with the State of Louisiana and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in filing a challenge to the Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Management’s (BOEM) Final Notice of…
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Maui is suing Big Oil

08/15/23
The county is seeking to recover the costs of climate-fueled disasters Big Oil knowingly caused — including increasingly destructive wildfires.
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Feds urge judge to reject flood insurance program challenge by Florida, other states

By Jim Saunders 08/10/23
The Biden administration this week urged a federal judge to reject a challenge by Florida and other states to an overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program that has led to higher premiums for many…
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DOJ: Toss states’ lawsuit over flood insurance rates

By Thomas Frank 08/09/23
The federal government is asking a Louisiana judge to throw out a potentially momentous lawsuit that would stop millions of people from being forced to pay higher rates for federal flood insurance.
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Global Climate Litigation Report: 2023 Status Review

07/27/23
Climate litigation represents a frontier solution to change the dynamics of the fight against climate change. This Global Climate Litigation Report: 2023 Status Review shows that people are increasingly turning to the courts to combat…
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She’s on a Mission From God: Suing Big Oil for Climate Damages

By David Gelles 07/19/23
Missy Sims carefully picked her way through a field of ruined tombs in central Puerto Rico, in a cemetery where walls of water from Hurricane Maria had smashed open some coffins and sent others careering…
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9th Circuit upholds Interior approval of massive lithium mine

By Niina H. Farah 07/18/23
A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the Interior Department’s approval of a contested lithium mine in northern Nevada, angering environmentalists even as supporters said it was a victory for batteries in electric vehicles.
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Federal Government Evades Responsibility for Cleaning up Alaska Native Lands

07/18/23
Today, Federal District Court Judge Holland dismissed the State of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)’s case against the United States for the Department of Interior (DOI)’s failure to clean up Alaska…
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Alaska Governor Dunleavy Turns to Courts to Compel Feds to Address Contaminated Lands Conveyed under ANCSA

07/15/23
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy said Alaska has exhausted all options before filing a complaint today in U.S. District Court to compel the U.S. government to take responsibility for and address contaminated sites that it conveyed…
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KEY RESOURCES

U.S Climate Change Litigation

12/04/23
This website provides two databases of climate change litigation: (1) a U.S. Climate Change Litigation database and (2) a Global Climate Change Litigation database, which includes all cases except those in the U.S.

The UCS Science Hub for Climate Litigation

10/06/20
Resources and Opportunities for Experts

THE WAR ON SCIENCE

04/25/20
Science is under siege. Anti-science groups and individuals seek to delegitimize, interfere with, and undermine facts and evidence that threaten their financial interests and ideological beliefs. Aggressive legal action, harassment, and even death threats are…

U.S. Climate Change Litigation

02/10/20
Cases in the U.S. database are organized by type of claim and may be filtered by the principal laws they address, their filing years, and their jurisdictions. The database is also searchable by keyword. In many cases, the database…

9 major climate change cases that could shape the fight to save the planet

01/23/20
Cases brought by an array of plaintiffs—among them children, state and local governments, farmers and environmental associations—target the Trump administration, fossil fuel giants and other alleged perpetrators of climate damage. Check out these major climate…

12 Legal Tools to Push Climate Preparedness

12/16/19
Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe. Here are 12 ways the law can help society cope with these impacts. ...

Lawyers are unleashing a flurry of lawsuits to step up the fight against climate change

11/01/19
The issue of climate change, which has been slowly winding its way through the legal system for the past two decades, recently took a high-profile detour. Traditionally relegated to the statutory realm of environmental and…

League of Conservation Voters v. Trump

11/22/19
Challenge to executive order reversing President Obama’s withdrawal of lands in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from future oil and gas leasing.

MORE NEWS

Americans love climate litigation

By Jordan Wolman   07/13/23  
We know that Americans love lawsuits. And it turns out that the national passion for litigation extends to climate-related cases. U.S. litigants are responsible for nearly 70 percent of the climate-related suits filed globally since…
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Halted as Legal Wrangling Heats Up

By Coral Davenport   07/12/23  
A federal court in Richmond has halted construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, setting off a battle with Congress that could end up at the Supreme Court.
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Law and Oil: Taking Climate Offenders to Court

07/07/23  
The last several years have seen a big increase in the number of lawsuits focused on the climate crisis. Some lawsuits challenge governments for their support for fossil fuels and for their failure to take…
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Illinois to sue EPA over standards for residential wood-burning stoves

By Associated Press   07/03/23  
Attorneys general from 10 states plan to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, saying its failure to review and ensure emissions standards for residential wood-burning stoves has allowed the continued sale of appliances that could…
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Enabling Fossil Fuel Addiction: It’s About More Than Money

06/23/23  
A new climate case was filed this week. Multnomah County, the Oregon county that includes Portland, filed suit against several oil majors for their role in exacerbating the climate change that led to the county's…
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Oregon County Sues Fossil Fuel Companies Over 2021 Heat Dome

By David Gelles   06/22/23  
The Oregon county that includes Portland on Thursday filed a lawsuit against several fossil fuel companies and their business partners in an effort to hold them responsible for a deadly heat wave in 2021.
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Railroad industry sues to block new locomotive pollution rules in California

By Adam Beam and Josh Funk   06/17/23  
The railroad industry on Friday sued to block new environmental rules in California, arguing they would force the premature retirement of about 25,000 diesel-powered locomotives across the country long before their zero-emission counterparts are ready…
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What’s next for the court cases challenging Mountain Valley Pipeline?

By Charlie Paullin   06/09/23  
Although the Mountain Valley Pipeline won fast-tracked approval from Congress last week, environmental groups are still exploring possible legal challenges to prevent it from moving forward. President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the Fiscal Responsibility…
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What the 9th Circuit decision means for the building electrification movement

05/04/23  
Following the recent ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on the all-electric construction policy from Berkeley, CA – the first passed in the U.S. – here are some key points for local government…
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Supreme Court Allows Major State, Local Government Climate Change Litigation to Proceed on Merits

By Richard Frank   04/26/23  
This week the U.S. Supreme Court gave state and local governments a big–if preliminary–legal win against the fossil fuel industry. The justices declined to take up numerous cases in which government entities have sued oil,…
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In Washington State Today: An Unjust Decision, A Powerful Dissent

10/06/21  
Today, in a 7-2 vote, the Washington Supreme Court unjustly shut their courthouse doors to the 13 youth plaintiffs of Aji P. v. Washington and the grave evidence they were prepared to present on the…
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Vermont AG takes on Exxon, Shell over climate change in new lawsuit

By Sebastien Malo   09/15/21  
Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan sued Exxon Mobil Corp and the Shell Oil Co in Vermont state court on Tuesday, alleging the companies misled Vermonters for decades with marketing that conceals the contributions to climate…
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Federal Judge Strikes Down Trump Rule Governing Water Pollution

By Coral Davenport   09/01/21  
A federal judge on Monday struck down a Trump-era environmental rule that drastically limited federal restrictions against pollution of millions of streams, wetlands and marshes across the country. The Biden administration had already begun the…
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Exxon sting surfaces in climate litigation

By Maxine Joselow   08/26/21  
A group of academics and climate activists cited the video in a "friend of the court" brief filed late yesterday in Minnesota’s climate lawsuit against Exxon and other fossil fuel companies in the 8th U.S.…
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Who sues for the trees—and the air that we breathe?

07/08/21  
Judges have started stepping in where regulators fear to tread, delivering high-profile victories to activists who have sued on behalf of nature—and future generations.
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The scientists hired by big oil who predicted the climate crisis long ago

By Emma Pattee   07/02/21  
As early as 1958, the oil industry was hiring scientists and engineers to research the role that burning fossil fuels plays in global warming. The goal at the time was to help the major oil…
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Justices deny Wyoming, Montana coal suit against Washington

By Mead Gruver   06/29/21  
The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday that it won’t allow Wyoming and Montana to sue Washington state for denying a key permit to build a coal export dock that would have sent coal to Asia.…
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Guest post: How attribution can fill the evidence ‘gap’ in climate litigation

By Rupert Stuart-Smith   06/28/21  
In November 2015, a Peruvian farmer and mountain guide, Saúl Luciano Lliuya, launched a pioneering bid for climate justice in a German court more than 10,000km from his home in the Andean city of Huaraz.
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Exxon must face Massachusetts lawsuit alleging climate change deceit

By Jonathan Stempel   06/24/21  
A Massachusetts state judge has rejected Exxon Mobil Corp's (XOM.N) bid to dismiss a lawsuit by state Attorney General Maura Healey accusing the oil company of misleading consumers and investors about its role in climate…
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Lack of Supreme Court review doesn’t settle where big oil lawsuit will be fought

By Bob Egelko   06/14/21  
The U.S. Supreme Court took a step Monday toward allowing San Francisco and Oakland to sue major oil companies in state court for their role in emissions that increase global warming.
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Youth Climate Plaintiffs Try Again

05/28/21  
Back in 2015 a group of young people sued the United States for failing to protect the climate and therefore their rights to a livable future, but the case was eventually dismissed. Now the Juliana…
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U.S. state officials urge Garland to reverse Trump positions on climate deception cases

By Valerie Volcovici   04/06/21  
 The attorneys general of five U.S. states and the District of Columbia on Monday called on President Joe Biden’s Justice Department to withdraw legal briefs filed in support of fossil fuel companies in litigation during…
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Oil companies defeat New York City appeal over global warming

By Jonathan Stempel and Sebastien Malo   04/01/21  
A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected New York City’s effort to hold five major oil companies liable to help pay the costs of addressing harm caused by global warming.
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Court upholds dismissal of New York City lawsuit against oil companies

By Zack Budryk   04/01/21  
A U.S. circuit court on Thursday upheld a district court's decision to dismiss a New York City lawsuit seeking damages for climate change from five multinational oil firms. In its decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit…
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21 states sue Biden for revoking Keystone XL permit

By Rachel Frazin   03/17/21  
A coalition of states with Republican attorneys general sued President Biden on Wednesday over his decision to revoke a key permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The lawsuit from 21 states, led by Texas and…
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Under Trump, Criminal Prosecutions for Pollution Dropped Sharply

By John Schwartz   10/13/20  
The first two years of the Trump administration had a 70 percent decrease in criminal prosecutions under the Clean Water Act and a decrease of more than 50 percent under the Clean Air Act, the…
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Climate Litigation Spreads across the United States

By Cathy Mulvey   10/06/20  
With hurricanes in the Gulf South and wildfires in the West, the intensifying impacts of climate change have been inescapable as summer turns to fall. Summer 2020 also brought a wave of new climate lawsuits…
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Supreme Court Will Hear Fossil Fuel’s Appeal of Baltimore’s Climate Lawsuit

By Dana Drugmand   10/02/20  
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to intervene in a climate liability lawsuit brought against 26 fossil fuel companies by Baltimore, which seeks to hold them responsible for the substantial costs of grappling with the…
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Indiana Groups Sue EPA For Not Regulating Certain Steel Mill Pollutants

By Rebecca Thiele   09/21/20  
The LaPorte County branch of the NAACP, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Clean Air Council, and the Sierra Club are all petitioners in the suit.
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Mounting climate cases expand Big Oil’s legal battlefield

By Jennifer Hijazi   09/16/20  
Climate lawsuits against the oil industry are popping up in courts across the country, and experts see this month's succession of new filings from state and local officials as a sign of more to come.
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Greens sue to stop Trump methane rule

By Niina H. Farah   09/16/20  
A coalition of 10 conservation groups is taking the unusual step of asking a federal court to immediately throw out EPA's rollback of 2016 regulations on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
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Connecticut sues ExxonMobil over climate change, accusing energy giant of misrepresenting threats to the environment

By Stephen Singer   09/14/20  
Connecticut sued ExxonMobil Corp. Monday, accusing the fossil fuel giant of misleading investors and the public about its contribution to climate change, costing the state precious time to limit damage to the environment.
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Trump NEPA rules take effect after court denies freeze

By Niina H. Farah   09/14/20  
The White House Council on Environmental Quality's implementing rules for a bedrock environmental law are going into effect as planned today, after opponents of the new regulations failed to convince a federal judge to block…
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Delaware Just Sued 30 Fossil Fuel Companies and the American Petroleum Institute Over Climate ‘Denial and Disinformation’

By Dana Drugmand   09/10/20  
Delaware, the home state of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, announced on Thursday, September 10 that it is taking dozens of major oil and gas companies including BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil to court over the…
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Charleston sues 24 fossil fuel companies, seeks money for climate change damages

By Emily Bohatch   09/09/20  
Charleston officials filed a lawsuit Wednesday against 24 fossil fuel companies, claiming that because they contributed to climate change — and misled the public about the danger its products posed to the environment —they should…
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Hoboken N.J. joins other cities suing Big Oil over climate change

By Sebastien Malo   09/02/20  
The city of Hoboken in New Jersey sued five major oil companies and the oil and gas industry’s main trade association on Wednesday over allegations of knowingly contributing to the damaging effects of climate change,…
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Oregon joins multi-state lawsuit against Trump administration changes to NEPA

By Monica Samayoa   08/29/20  
Oregon has joined a multi-state federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration, over changes to a bedrock environmental law — rule revisions that eliminate environmental review and reduce public input for projects.
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Lawsuit Looms Over Carbon Regs

By Sander Gusinow   08/27/20  
On March 10th, surrounded by children, climate-change activists and renewable energy advocates, Gov. Brown made good on her pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if the Legislature failed to do so.
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Judge rejects Trump administration challenge to California cap-and-trade program

By Rachel Frazin   07/21/20  
A federal judge on Friday upheld a California program that caps carbon emissions from the transportation sector after the Trump administration sued the state over it.
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DC Circuit upholds landmark FERC storage order, rejecting claims it violates state authority

By Catherine Morehouse   07/13/20  
A three-judge panel of the court said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's 2018 Order 841, intended to expand the ability of storage to participate in wholesale power markets, does not surpass the commission's jurisdiction with its…
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This week’s pipeline wins were decades in the making

By Heather Hansman   07/10/20  
Over a span of two days earlier this week, there were three big wins for environmental groups fighting controversial natural gas pipeline projects. On Sunday, Dominion Energy canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), citing delays and rising costs. And…
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Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Review, Federal Judge Rules

By Jacey Fortin and Lisa Friedman   07/06/20  
The Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil route from North Dakota to Illinois that has inspired intense protests and legal battles, must shut down pending an environmental review and be emptied of oil by Aug. 5,…
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Dominion Energy and Duke Energy cancel the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

07/05/20  
Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) and Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) today announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (“ACP”) due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threaten the economic viability of the project.
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NRDC Sues FERC Over Orders that Threaten NY Clean Energy

By Christopher Casey   06/30/20  
NRDC is suing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in federal court to overturn two FERC orders that thwart New York’s development of clean energy: an order targeting storage and an order targeting demand response resources.
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Minnesota Sues ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Top Oil and Gas Trade Association for Climate-Related Consumer Fraud

By Elliott Negin   06/24/20  
On Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute (API), the leading US oil and gas industry trade association.
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PG&E’s Plan to Resolve Bankruptcy Wins Court Approval

By Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis   06/19/20  
A federal judge decided Saturday that the California utility can put itself back together in time to take part in a crucial wildfire liability fund.
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Commentary: California sues, again, to protect the planet from the Trump administration

By Kerry Cavanaugh   05/27/20  
California and 22 other states are taking the Trump administration to court - again - in an attempt to block President Donald Trump's foolishly destructive effort to weaken fuel economy standards.
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PG&E Says Wildfire Victims Back Settlement in Bankruptcy

By Ivan Penn   05/18/20  
Pacific Gas & Electric said Monday that thousands of homeowners and businesses had overwhelmingly approved a $13.5 billion settlement for wildfires caused by the utility’s equipment, an important victory in its effort to resolve its…
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Trump Just Lost the ‘Clean Water Case of the Century’

By Olivia Rosane   04/24/20  
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration Thursday in a case Earthjustice called "the clean water case of the century." The case concerned a...
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US judge cancels permit for Keystone XL pipeline from Canada

By Matthew Brown   04/16/20  
A U.S. judge canceled a key permit Wednesday for the Keystone XL oil pipeline that’s expected to stretch from Canada to Nebraska, another setback for the disputed project that got underway less than two weeks…
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