The newsletter is a monthly collection of stuff of interest to car hobbyists. If you wish to submit an article or photo please go to the Submissions Page for info.
From Fred Senator Bill DeSteph introduced SB 586 which is the exhaust bill we have been seeking. If this bill becomes law it will give exhaust freedom of choice to owners of all vehicles registered as antiques. The problem with the current law is that OEM or equivalent parts are simply not available for many antique vehicles. If SB 586 becomes law we will be able to choose aftermarket parts that will produce lower emissions while providing better gas mileage and performance. Many thanks to Senator DeSteph, a fellow car hobbyist, for introducing this bill.
The bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee by a vote of 11 to 1. Then it passed the full Senate by a vote of 37 to 2. It has now moved to the House where it has been assigned to the Transportation Committee. At the time of this writing the bill has not been assigned to a subcommittee yet. The bill will have to pass the House Transportation Subcommittee, then the entire committee and then it can be voted on by the House. If the bill makes it through the House in the same form as it was passed by the Senate then it will proceed to the governor for his signature. We are hopeful that the bill can make it all the way and become law. You can keep track of the bill at this link: lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?181+sum+SB586.
We had a very nice Polar Bear Run 19 with over 100 participants making it one of the best attended. The weather was great compared to the record cold we experienced for much of January. One convertible even drove home with the top down as temps reached into the mid-60s that afternoon. We drove nearly two hours to a museum in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. This was the only Polar Bear Run to venture out of the state.
As one person on the Polar Bear told me - this is the beginning of the car season. During February there will be two indoor shows, the 56th Annual Rods & Customs Car Show by the Asphalt Angels and the Virginia International Auto Show by Motor Trend. In March the outdoor events begin and in April most of the cruise-ins will begin. The cruise-ins will be posted in late February and if you are hosting one send it in any time and I will post.
This year is off to a great start and I hope it continues!
Fake road signs mock California’s new status as ‘sanctuary state’
Heart shaped grill for Valentine's
News You Can't Use ~ 100% True
An Auburn, California, community feels its local homeowners association has gone too far with a bizarre new policy about garage doors. Auburn Greens community members are perplexed and upset that they're being told to keep their garage doors open during the day or face a $200 fine. The rule that has residents keeping their garages open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. isn't being received well, but because of the hefty fine, they obey the rule. Others, however, are choosing this as the line they won't cross. The new rule was put into effect because someone in the community had people living in their garage. Residents, such as 9-year-old Jason, are worried that their things will be stolen right out from under them: "I'm still worried a little. I'm still a little worried because I just think it's all going to get stolen, you know? I don't think it's a good idea because they are going to steal my bike. I've got an electric scooter, I've got an electric wheelchair, I've got all kinds of stuff. So I just don't think it's very good to have it open."
Los Angeles police fatally shot an armed driver Monday evening in South L.A., authorities said. Shortly after 6 p.m., officers with the elite Metropolitan Division were working on crime suppression in an unmarked police car when they began following the man, who they said was driving erratically near Florence Avenue and Main Street, said LAPD Det. Meghan Aguilar. The driver crashed into two cars and a light pole. Aguilar did not know if the officers had initiated a traffic stop. Two officers opened fire when they saw the man had a gun, Aguilar said. It’s not clear whether he pointed the gun at officers, or if he exited his car before the shooting. A firearm was recovered near the vehicle. The man, who was not named, was pronounced dead at the scene. Aguilar said he was in his 20s or 30s. The occupants of the two other vehicles involved in the crash sustained minor injuries that did not require hospitalization. The officers were not injured in the incident.
Protesters in opposition to President Donald Trump have done some pretty wild things over the last couple of years, and blocking streets and freeways is just one of them. Now, a University of California San Diego student who was hit by a car when a group of angry students flooded Interstate 5 near the campus is blaming the university for her injuries. The College Fix reported that a sophomore from Compton is filing a lawsuit against school administrators and functionaries for her injuries on Interstate 5, where she was hit by a car. The student, Maria Ana Carrola Flores, joined a campus-wide protest with students who walked “for hours” through campus chanting anti-Trump messages. A large number of the students eventually stormed a freeway ramp near campus and flooded into the lanes of traffic. The College Fix reported that police attempted to stop traffic for the protesters, but not all cars had yet stopped. One car clipped Flores, fracturing her leg and injuring her pelvis. The Los Angeles Times noted that the driver stopped to help and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the UCSD student newspaper, The Guardian, the lawsuit stated the then-19-year-old believed the university should have stopped the protest: The protest continued all over campus for hours and was never stopped, controlled, or refrained by the County of San Diego, City of San Diego, State of California, University of California Regents or the University of California, San Diego. The student’s attorney also alleges that the protest was endorsed by the university, and as such, was liable for what happened. The Guardian reported: The complaint additionally claims that UCSD is liable for Flores’ injuries because it allowed the protesters to enter the freeway and failed to warn Flores that there was no one providing security for the demonstrators along the freeway even though campus police officers were present during the protests on campus and shut down the surrounding streets. Flores’s attorney says she will suffer from her injuries for the rest of her life, and her medical bills will likely run into the millions of dollars.
A 70-year-old, off-duty sheriff's deputy braked to avoid two dogs and was rear-ended by a driver who then got out and delivered a fatal punch, police said Wednesday in announcing a murder charge against the man. The attack occurred on New Year's Eve and San Bernardino County sheriff's Deputy Lawrence Falce was taken off life support two days later. Surveillance video from a nearby store captured the encounter, which lasted only about a minute. After the fender-bender, Falce and a man police identified as Alonzo Leron Smith got out of their cars, exchanged words and motioned at each other. Smith then delivered a single punch to the face and Falce fell backward, his head hitting the pavement. "We believe that he was knocked unconscious almost immediately and he never did regain consciousness," San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at a news conference. Smith got back in his Ford Explorer and the video showed a truck ramming it to try to keep him from driving off. Smith managed to drive away but was arrested hours later, police said. The 30-year-old San Bernardino man pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to murder with special circumstances. Smith is a gang member who has spent much of his adult life in and out of lockups.
Losing one's mother is always hard, but 14-year-old Anthony Breaux was forced to learn just how hard it really can be. Anthony's birthday is on Christmas, and he and his mother, Gloria Eaton-Breaux, were eating at a Denny's restaurant celebrating both occasions. When they were leaving, Gloria was tragically struck by a car in a hit-and-run. The two were crossing an intersection, and Anthony went ahead of his mother on his brand new skateboard. His mother who suffered from diabetes had to stop in the middle of the street. That's when two cars had to stop suddenly, and one struck her. Anthony recounted the moment: Two of the cars stopped and went around, but one of them actually hit her. She was left on the ground where she was breathing for a couple of seconds, but I don’t know what happened next. I know I was there the whole time with the officers.
The car that struck her did not stop and fled the scene. An anonymous witness overheard Anthony telling his mother, “I’m not going to let you go.” In the process, Anthony's skateboard was stolen when he left it to help his mother. My main priority was my mom because I love her the most.
Police held a press conference, offering a $50,000 reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the driver of the vehicle that struck Anthony's mother. After a senseless hit-and-run that tragically killed his mother on Christmas, a 14-year-old boy also had his skateboard stolen which was a gift from his mom. Today, #LAPD delivered a new skateboard to the teen.
Waiting for the Valentine's Day present
A pair of armed, hooded men rushed into a Houston gas station convenience store Sunday morning. Store owner Mohammed Kahloon was making coffee at the time and was hit by as many as eight bullets in his left arm, his family told KTRK-TV. It turned out to be a very poor decision. See, Kahloon is right-handed and always carries a gun while he works, the station said. Store surveillance video captured the moment Kahloon fired back at the would-be robbers, hitting at least one of them, police told KTRK. One of the would-be robbers drove off but only made it a block before crashing his vehicle, KTRK said, adding that police found him dead. He was fatally shot, the station said. When asked if the robbers took anything, a relative of Kahloon’s told KTRK “they did take some bullets with them.”
A couple of crooks picked out a silver Infinity to carjack Sunday in New Orleans — but how could they have known that one of the men in the targeted car is a concealed carry permit holder? A man that WVUE-TV identified only as Benny told the station he and a friend pulled up to Benny’s home when gunmen wearing ski masks ambushed them. “They probably figured this time of morning, we are going to just stake somebody out,” Benny told the station. Benny told WVUE as he exited the car — his friend had been driving it — “some guy came from nowhere and said, ‘Hey man, I want that car.’” Benny’s friend handed over the keys and ran toward a nearby police station while the gunmen sped off in the vehicle, the station said. Then a second gunman came at Benny from the bushes, WVUE reported. “He came just like that, and he said, ‘Don’t you move,’” Benny recounted to the station. Benny told WVUE that he has a concealed carry permit — and didn’t hesitate to make use of it, pulling out his own gun. “I just pulled my gun out,” he recalled to the station, “and I just started boom, boom, boom.” Benny told WVUE he fired four shots but missed his attacker. Indeed he did, telling the station he hit the gun out of the second carjacker’s hand. “Some kind of way we both tripped, and we fell on the ground like this here,” Benny recalled to WVUE. “I had my right hand here. I did like this, boom! He stood up, ‘Oh Lord, Jesus,’ and he broke out and ran.” Benny told the station he shot his attacker in the stomach.
A veteran patrol officer was sitting inside his personal car outside his home in Bronzeville in Chicago. Two teenagers approached him from either side of the car, with the passenger side suspect tapping on the window in what seemed like an attempt to distract him as his accomplice snuck up on the other side. The 41-year-old officer glanced at the side mirror and saw the teen creeping up on his window with a gun in hand, so he leaned back in his seat and drew his pistol from its holster. The suspect pointed his gun at the officer, and demanded his car. When they opened the door at the same time, the officer fired once, shooting him in the stomach. The gunman dropped to the ground while his accomplice ran off. Carlos Hendricks, 18, was arrested and charged with vehicular hijacking, attempted armed robbery and aggravated assault. Police are seeking his accomplice, who is thought to also be a teenager.
Six days before Christmas, four kids thought it would be a delicious prank if they threw stuff off a freeway overpass and onto traffic. Police say the 13- and 14-year-olds threw, among other things, sandbags onto the cars driving along Interstate 75 in Toledo, Ohio, at about 10 p.m. on December 19. And as expected for anyone who knows anything about physics, tragedy was a real possibility. WTVG reports that several cars were hit by several objects — including, unfortunately, the car in which a 22-year-old Michigan man was riding. A sandbag crashed through the car's windshield and caused passenger Marquise Byrd to suffer a head injury. The father of a 2-year-old was critically injured and died within a few days. Now, all four boys have been charged with murder.
Although you could’ve sworn you’ve seen your drunk friends getting served a meal via walking by the drive-thru, McDonald’s has a strict rule against that. “We have a policy that forbids us from serving people who are not in a ‘motorized vehicle’ in [the] drive-thru because it can be unsafe,” one employee admitted on Reddit. “Bicycles, electric scooters, and pedestrians cannot be served.”
Note spoiler on roll bar
Monthly Rant ~ Ebay Motors – What Are They Thinking?
Ebay Motors is the go to place to sell and buy collector vehicles online. It has been the leader for a long time and for good reason – buyers can get what they want and sellers are able to sell for a decent price. That was then and today Ebay Motors has gone greedy and will not only lose sales but has fewer vehicles for sale online.
What happened? For the last 15+ years you could post your vehicle for sale on Ebay Motors in an auction style listing with a reserve for a reasonable price. For only $45 15 years ago you could list your vehicle with a reserve and actually sell it for more than you wanted. This made it the go to place for sellers. As expected Ebay slowly upped the fees until last year, when it decided to more than double the fee for a reserve auction.
Ebay offers a couple of different formats for selling. The most popular used to be the reserve auction. You set the minimum price you would take for the vehicle and if it didn’t reach it (the reserve price) it didn’t sell. You could then relist. The other ways to sell are “buy it now” and “buy it now or best offer”. These ways to sell are just like running an ad in a newspaper, on Craigslist or any online site. You set a price higher than what you will take and then see if anyone’s interested and makes an offer.
Last year Ebay pretty much killed off the golden goose – Ebay more than doubled the reserve fee which must be paid up front before the ad goes online. This has turned the hot Ebay Motors into the Auto Trader. In fact you might be a lot better off now with Auto Trader than Ebay.
What did more than doubling the fee for having a reserve auction do to Ebay Motors? I just looked at the collector vehicles for sale. For most of last year there were 12,000 to 13,000 of them for sale on Ebay. Today there were 10,578 for sale. The big shock is that only 2,531 of them are real auctions. The rest are simply “buy it now’ or “buy it now or best offer”. The auction style listings that made Ebay Motors a favorite of car hobbyists is going the way of the dinosaurs. It won’t be long until they are gone.
What is so good about auction style listings? A guy I know sold a car on Ebay for $10,000 more than the reserve price. Two guys who really wanted the car bid against each other until one cried “uncle”. This is what made Ebay so hot – you could get more than you wanted for your vehicle. Plus there was bidding and if you’ve ever been to a live auction you know the bidding can go crazy on some things. At a recent live auction for some old vehicles a buddy of mine told me an old four door heap sold for $15,000. The heap was worth at tops $4000. This is why sellers love auctions! And Ebay is doing what it can to kill them off the site.
So with reserve auctions too expensive sellers have turned to the buy it now and/or best offer listings. Just go and look at them and you will see vehicles priced at two or three times their real value. This is because the seller expects to get offers and apparently thinking buyers are dumber than the seller has inflated the price by thousands of dollars. This has led to shrinking sales at Ebay. I’ve looked at the completed sales and they are sparse. Who in their right mind is going to make an offer on a vehicle worth $10,000 when the seller wants $30,000 for it?
I’ve got no clue why Ebay more than doubled the reserve fee. They must have some good reasons for killing off auction style listings. I just don’t know those reasons. Ebay must see that there are fewer vehicles listed for sale and fewer sales being made and this will continue. Perhaps then Ebay will see their error and go back to encouraging real auctions with reserves instead of the same old overpriced ads you can find on any website, newspaper and for sale car magazines.
Classic Troubleshooting Techniques
For years, I have read trade magazines written by and for professional mechanics. I especially enjoy the articles describing difficult-to-diagnose repairs. Symptoms such as an engine failing to start or stalling leads to methodical, meticulous testing of systems and individual parts. The clues often point to an electrical or computer problem. The problem might be intermittent or connecting an OBD scan tool reveals a slew of confusing diagnostic trouble codes.
The technician will often bring out an oscilloscope and start checking the signals from and between computer modules. As I read the painstaking details, I start to worry if what my granddad told me in the 1970s, "These new cars are too complicated to work on." finally has proved true 40+ years later.
After reading lots of articles, I have stopped worrying. The sophisticated electrical testing may help identify the troublesome system, but the specific broken part is often found using classic troubleshooting techniques that have been around since cars were first invented. Techniques such as jiggling connectors, swapping in new parts, cleaning off corroded ground connections and looking for physical damage.
Yes, that BCM (Body Control Module, in "Electrical" category at RockAuto.com) under that late model GMC truck's seat is high tech, but the layer of corrosion covering it looks a lot like the corrosion that can build up on the battery terminals of a 1960s GMC truck. The IDM (Diesel Fuel Injector Driver Module, found under "Fuel & Air" category at RockAuto.com) behind the fender liner on that newer Ford truck is sophisticated electronics, but fill it with dirty water and there will be problems similar to those experienced when water gets inside a 1968 Ford Bronco's distributor cap. The trade journal articles have also revealed a rat's teeth can gnaw through important wires on a new car just as easily as wires on an antique car.
A professional mechanic may not get much background information on the vehicle in his/her service bay. A DIYer has the advantage of knowing his/her vehicle's history of repairs/maintenance, modifications (new radio recently installed...) and potential sources of damage (major coffee spill under the front seat...). That information can point out where to start the hunt and turn a difficult-to-diagnose repair into a straightforward repair.
Rental Vehicles - Police Watch Them
From the Internet ~ Fred
In the summer of 2014, Terrence Byrd was driving a rental car on an interstate highway in Pennsylvania. His fiancée had rented it, and he was using it with her permission. But he was not listed on the rental agreement as an authorized driver.
A state trooper, David Long, noticed Mr. Byrd and decided to follow him. At a hearing months later, Trooper Long testified that Mr. Byrd had aroused his suspicion by holding the steering wheel as driving instructors recommend, at the “10 and 2” position, and by sitting far back in his seat.
A lawyer for Mr. Byrd seemed incredulous about all of this.
“So the only reason you pulled out was the fact that he was at 10 and 2 and you couldn’t see him?” the lawyer asked.
Trooper Long then mentioned a third factor. “In a rental vehicle,” he said. “That’s what drew my attention to it, yes.”
In short order, Trooper Long pulled Mr. Byrd over, for failing to move into the right lane fast enough after passing a slow-moving truck. At that point, the car rental company’s boilerplate contract collided with the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches.
Because Mr. Byrd was not listed as an authorized driver, Trooper Long said he was free to search the car without Mr. Byrd’s consent. He found body armor and 49 bricks of heroin in the trunk.
After a judge refused to suppress the evidence, Mr. Byrd was convicted of federal drug charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Next week, the Supreme Court will consider whether privacy rights turn on the fine-print contracts signed by the more than 115 million people who rent cars every year. “If the government prevails,” Mr. Byrd’s lawyers wrote in a brief filed last week, “it will have the power to conduct suspicion less searches whenever it stops a rental car driven by an unlisted driver for a routine traffic violation.”
Letting a family member or a friend drive a car you have rented can be a breach of the rental contract. But it is not generally considered a crime, and it is not obvious that people who drive cars that others have rented should forfeit their Fourth Amendment rights.
The contract in Mr. Byrd’s case, from Budget, was typical. It said that “the only ones permitted to drive the vehicle other than the renter are the renter’s spouse, the renter’s co-employee (with the renter’s permission, on company business) or a person who appears at the time of the rental and signs an additional driver form.”
Mr. Byrd was none of those. But he testified that he and the woman who rented the car, Latasha Reed, had been together for 17 years, had five children and were engaged to be married.
In rejecting Mr. Byrd’s appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, acknowledged that federal appeals courts have differed about “whether the sole occupant of a rental vehicle has a Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy when that occupant is not named in the rental agreement.” The Third Circuit’s own precedents, the court said, “determined such a person has no expectation of privacy and therefore no standing to challenge a search of the vehicle.”
Mr. Byrd’s lawyers said this ignored reality. “Widespread noncompliance with authorized-driver provisions is an open secret,” they wrote, which is why rental agreements “often specify that the renter will carry greater risk of loss when an unlisted driver operates the vehicle.”
The Supreme Court’s decision in the case, Byrd v. United States, No. 16-1371, is very likely to have an outsize effect on black and Hispanic drivers, according to a brief from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Poor people rent a lot of cars. “There is a commonly held misconception that car rental is a luxury reserved for the wealthiest individuals,” a 2010 tax study found, noting that “more car rentals occur at neighborhood locations than at airport locations.”
“African-Americans generate over four times as many retail rental transactions as otherwise comparable Caucasians,” the study said. Other reports have demonstrated that black drivers are more likely than white ones to be pulled over by the police and more likely to be searched during the stop.
Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco urged the justices to hold Mr. Byrd to the terms of the rental agreement. “It is common knowledge,” he wrote, “that car rental is a personal transaction that does not make the car available for general enjoyment, and straw man car rentals disserve society by frustrating law-enforcement efforts to prevent smuggling and other crimes.”
In a brief supporting the federal government, 15 states said criminals often used cars rented by others to transport drugs, victims of human trafficking and unauthorized immigrants.
It is certainly true that allowing the police to search rental cars whenever they pull over an unlisted driver would yield evidence of crimes. “But what is expedient for law enforcement is not the test,” Mr. Byrd’s lawyers wrote.
Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, made a similar point during a 2013 argument over whether the Fourth Amendment allowed the police to take DNA samples from people they arrest. A government lawyer said the practice had led to many convictions.
Justice Scalia was unimpressed.
“Well, that’s really good,” he said, with characteristic sarcasm. “I’ll bet you if you conducted a lot of unreasonable searches and seizures, you’d get more convictions, too. That proves absolutely nothing.”
Cale Yarborough Special
Is it cruel to drive your vintage car in winter?
From Hagerty by Kyle Smith
Winter is already descending on much of the country. Many owners are focused on getting their collectible cars tucked safely away for the season, but perhaps that raises a question—why not drive your classic year round?
Let’s not forget that the old cars we love now were, in many cases a simple means of transportation for their original owners. There are, of course, exceptions in the case of cars that were always collectible, but the vast majority were functional machines that got people to work even when the weather was nasty. And with the proliferation of aftermarket reproduction parts and restoration facilities today, there’s never been a better time to pile on the miles no matter what the season.
Winter gives many classic owners pause, the main fear being rust and corrosion amplified by salt and wet roads. Fortunately, a trip to a rust-proofing shop can put these concerns at bay, and you can even do the deed yourself with the right equipment. A mixture of oil and grease or wax-based sealant can be applied to the underside of the vehicle to prevent road grime from latching onto your precious ride. Typically it isn’t a permanent coating, unlike the many undercoating products that respected restorers loathe. As always, washing the vehicle on a consistent basis can prevent any corrosion from starting.
Another issue is traction. Many classics ride on smaller-bias ply tires that often scratch and scrape for grip on cold and icy surfaces. Removing period-correct tires and fitting modern all-season or (even better) winter-specific tires will have dramatically transformative effects on drivability, traction, and confidence. We even proved this theory in 2011 when Hagerty’s own Jonathan Klinger made a 1930 Ford Model A his daily driver for a year. Even Northern Michigan winter snowfall couldn’t stop the Mighty Model A, which was equipped with a set of 19-inch stock-size tires that were siped to mimic the tread of a winter tire.
Video of the Month Cars Sliding on Ice Compilation 2017
Repair Mistakes & Blunders From Rock Auto
After graduating high school in 1976, I began my career as a mechanic at a Ford dealership. They started me out working on electrical problems. After a few months, I was feeling confident with my abilities, and that is when the following happened.
A brand new 1977 Country Squire station wagon came to me straight from the delivery truck with a direct short in the left turn signal, brake and tail lights. With my newly acquired "wealth of knowledge," I immediately diagnosed the problem as a crimped wire loom and began taking apart the interior of the car to find the bad wire(s).
After several hours, and many strange looks from the shop foreman and co-workers, I had exposed every inch of the wire loom from the front to the back of the station wagon. The short was still present though. Finally, I decided the problem had to be in the tail light socket.
When I took the tail light bulb out, the short went away. Upon closer inspection, I found the tail light bulb filament had collapsed, creating a direct short. A single burnt out bulb was the issue the entire time. I learned a very valuable lesson that day. Always check the simple things first!
Dana in Oklahoma
1957 Ford Fairlane
Never know what you will see at a show - here's a Butanic
Mayor Bill de Blasio Sues Five Oil Companies Over Climate Change
No this is not from the Onion but from the Washington Times!
A week after a brutal snowstorm froze New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered a one-two punch Wednesday in the name of climate change, announcing he will seek billions in damages from five major oil-and-gas companies while moving to divest from fossil fuels.
“It’s time for them to start paying for the damage they have done,” Mr. de Blasio said at a press conference at the Manhattan Youth Center. “It’s time for Big Oil to take responsibility for the devastation they have wrought.”
The two-front attack was promptly pilloried by industry groups as a cynical political stunt, even as it put New York City at the forefront of the environmental movement’s campaign to recruit local governments as allies in the climate change fight.
Flanked by municipal leaders and top climate activists, the Democratic mayor said his goal is to divest the $189 billion public-pension funds from fossil fuels by 2022, which he said would make New York the first major U.S. city to do so.
Mr. de Blasio also announced that the city has filed a lawsuit against five top energy producers, blaming the companies for greenhouse-gas emissions that he said have produced disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
“I remember those days after Sandy in the Lower East Side. I remember how desperate it was. I remember how much fear and confusion there was,” said Mr. de Blasio. “And this was a tragedy that was wrought by the actions of the fossil-fuel companies. Let’s be clear: That’s where it came from.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified billions from five companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell — to fund a proposed $20 billion infrastructure project that would “build resilience against rising seas, more powerful storms, and hotter temperatures.”
“The City of New York is taking on these five giants because they are the central actors, they are the first ones responsible for this crisis, and they should not get away with it anymore,” said Mr. de Blasio.
Pushing back were oil-and-gas and industry representatives, who accused the mayor of doing more to curry favor with environmentalists than address human-caused global warming.
“This lawsuit is factually and legally meritless, and will do nothing to address the serious issue of climate change,” said Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue that requires global engagement. Should this litigation proceed, it will only serve special interests at the expense of broader policy, regulatory and economic priorities.”
The legal action comes on the heels of lawsuits filed in the last six months by seven California localities, including Oakland and San Francisco, demanding billions from oil companies in order to build higher seawalls and other climate-driven infrastructure projects.
“Similar to recent lawsuits in California, this headline-seeking stunt is an absurd attempt to politicize natural disasters, rather than a good-faith effort at securing meaningful change,” said Linda Kelly, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Association of Manufacturers.
“De Blasio is showing where his priorities really are by choosing to make his announcement flanked by controversial environmental activists,” she said. “Ironically, this attack on energy manufacturers comes at a time that New Yorkers have depended on natural gas and heating oil to carry them through the recent extreme cold.”
Those backing the mayor at the press conference included climate activist Naomi Klein, Greenpeace’s Naomi Ages and 350.org’s Bill McKibben, who called the event “one of the most important moments” in the 30-year-old climate-change movement.
“New York City got very, very real today,” said Mr. McKibben. “Today, the mightiest city on our planet takes on its most powerful industry, its richest and most powerful and most irresponsible industry.”
Companies countered that the courts are the wrong venue to decide public policy issues like climate change.
“Climate change is a complex societal challenge that should be addressed through sound government policy and cultural change to drive low-carbon choices for businesses and consumers, not by the courts,” said Shell spokeswoman Natalie Gunnell.
ExxonMobil spokesman Scott Silvestri said the firm “welcomes any well-meaning and good faith attempt to address the risks of climate change,” but that lawsuits “filed by trial attorneys against an industry that provides products we all rely upon to power the economy and enable our domestic life — simply do not do that.”
The theory championed by Mr. de Blasio — that climate change makes storms and other weather events worse — has been hotly contested in academic circles.
University of Colorado professor Roger A. Pielke Jr. released a chart Monday showing that global weather-related losses as a proportion of GDP actually declined from 1990 to 2017.
“The most important caveat: don’t use disasters to argue about trends in climate. Use climate data. Duh,” Mr. Pielke said in his post on Climate Fix.
What’s more, no hurricane made U.S. landfall from 2005-2016 during the so-called “hurricane drought,” the longest on record. Hurricane Sandy degraded to a post-tropical storm before hitting the eastern seaboard.
Debate over divestment
The fossil-fuel divestment campaign has faltered in recent years amid decisions by universities to retain their investments in the name of fiduciary responsibility, but New York City has a recent history of using its pension funds to make political statements.
In 2016, the city’s employee pension fund announced it would sell its holdings in three sporting-goods retailers that sell firearms.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the city would submit a resolution Thursday on divestment and insisted that it could be accomplished without jeopardizing the pensions of police, teachers, firefighters and other public employees.
Divesting from fossil fuels would pull roughly $5 billion from the city’s five public pension funds, and would represent the largest municipal divestment in U.S. history, according to the mayor’s office.
“We’re going to crunch the numbers and make a plan so that we get New York City’s pension funds in the business of making our planet cleaner and greener with our investments, and we’re going to do it while maintaining our fiduciary responsibilities,” Mr. Stringer said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed last month pulling fossil-fuel investments from the state’s retirement fund, prompting state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to reiterate that “there are no immediate plans to divest our energy holdings.”
Matt Dempsey, spokesman with the pro-industry group Divestment Facts described Wednesday’s announcement as a “prime example of ‘ready, fire, aim.'”
He said the process of divesting from co-mingled funds necessitates “extensive transaction fees and ongoing management fees,” which have the power to “rob endowment funds of as much as 12 percent of a fund’s total value of a 20-year time frame.”
“When pressed on the details of divestment, both officials ran into real trouble: In addition to being a costly and ineffective effort, divestment is also not something that happens overnight but a long and costly process resulting in little more than a feel-good headline,” said Mr. Dempsey.
A MAN, A MISS
A CAR, A CURVE
HE KISSED THE MISS,
AND MISSED THE CURVE.
DON'T STICK YOUR ELBOW
OUT SO FAR
IT MAY GO HOME
IN ANOTHER CAR.
TRAINS DON'T WANDER
ALL OVER THE MAP
'CAUSE NOBODY SITS
IN THE ENGINEER'S LAP.
SHE KISSED THE HAIRBRUSH
SHE THOUGHT IT WAS
HER HUSBAND JAKE.
DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD
TO GAIN A MINUTE
YOU NEED YOUR HEAD
YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT.
DROVE TOO LONG
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
IS NOT AMUSING.
GOOD MORNING, NURSE.
TO HER RECKLESS DEAR
LET'S HAVE LESS BULL
AND A LITTLE MORE STEER.
SPEED WAS HIGH
WEATHER WAS NOT
TIRES WERE THIN
X MARKS THE SPOT.
THE MIDNIGHT RIDE
OF PAUL FOR BEER
LED TO A WARMER
AROUND THE CURVE
NO MATTER THE PRICE
NO MATTER HOW NEW
THE BEST SAFETY DEVICE
IN THE CAR IS YOU.
A GUY WHO DRIVES
A CAR WIDE OPEN
IS NOT THINKIN'
HE'S JUST HOPING
LOOK EACH WAY
A HARP SOUNDS NICE
BUT IT'S HARD TO PLAY.
BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL
EYES ON THE ROAD
THAT'S THE SKILLFUL
THE ONE WHO DRIVES
WHEN HE'S BEEN DRINKING
DEPENDS ON YOU
TO DO HIS THINKING.
CAR IN DITCH
DRIVER IN TREE
THE MOON WAS FULL
AND SO WAS HE.
PASSING SCHOOL ZONE
TAKE IT SLOW
LET OUR LITTLE