Thomas v. EPA
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of Guyana
Side A: Dr. Troy Thomas (Individual)
Side B: Guyana's EPA (Government)
Whether environmental permit that allowed oil exploration and production for 23 years violated Guyanese environmental regulations limiting such permits to five years
Guyanese scientist Dr. Troy Thomas filed a case against the EPA of Guyana in the Supreme Court, alleging that the 23-year permits EPA had issued to Esso Exploration (a subsidiary of Exxon) for oil exploration violated regulations under the Environmental Protection Act that limited such permit lengths to five years. EPA had issued permits to Esso that ran through 2040 and 2043. In an affidavit supporting the filing, Thomas argued that issuing such a long permit in violation of law "exposes Guyana and the rest of the world to serious, if not irreparable, harm and adverse consequences from climate change."
On October 7, 2020, the Supreme Court of Guyana issued a consent order accepting a settlement between Thomas, EPA, and Esso. EPA agreed to reduce the term to of the permits to five years, so that they would expire in 2022 and 2024. The Court also ordered EPA to pay Thomas' court costs.