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District of Columbia Sues ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and Chevron for Climate Deception

by Ryan Schleeter

June 25, 2020

"Even as the consequences of the climate crisis become increasingly plain to see, companies like Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and BP still pour millions of dollars into advertising, PR, and front groups to distort the science of climate change. Enough is enough."

© Geric Cruz / Greenpeace

Washington, DC — This morning, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the four largest publicly-traded oil companies in the world: ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and Chevron. The suit accuses the oil giants of “systematically and intentionally misleading District consumers about the role their products play in causing climate change.”

The District joins Massachusetts and Minnesota — which just announced its suit yesterday — in suing ExxonMobil for climate deception, and is the first instance of an Attorney General naming Chevron, Shell, and BP in such a case.

In response, Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director Janet Redman said:

“Climate denial is not a victimless crime. Now, one by one states and local governments are stepping up to hold the perpetrators accountable. Just yesterday it was Minnesota Attorney General Ellison standing up to big oil, today it’s DC Attorney General Racine. We stand in solidarity with these efforts to put public health and human rights before polluters’ profits. Even as the consequences of the climate crisis become increasingly plain to see, companies like Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and BP still pour millions of dollars into advertising, PR, and front groups to distort the science of climate change. Enough is enough.

“Fossil fuel corporations have known since the 1960s that the ongoing use of their products would lead to catastrophic climate change. But instead of warning the public and changing course, they’ve stood in the way of climate action at every turn. Their denial and delay has deadly consequences for the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities who bear the brunt of climate-fueled extreme weather and toxic pollution. As we confront the interwoven crises of climate change, systemic racism, and COVID-19, it would be unforgivable to return to a ‘normal’ in which fossil fuel CEOs continue to escape accountability for their deception. We thank Attorney General Racine for demanding justice, and hope to see more states and local governments join him.”

ENDS

Notes:

The full text of the complaint is available here: https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/DC-v-Exxon-BP-Chevron-Shell-Filed-Complaint.pdf

Internal documents show that oil and gas companies knew as early as the 1960s that their products would lead to catastrophic climate change: https://payupclimatepolluters.org/smoking-guns

On June 24, 2020, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced a consumer fraud lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute: https://www.ag.state.mn.us/Office/Communications/2020/docs/ExxonKochAPI_Complaint.pdf

Contact: Ryan Schleeter, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (415) 342-2386, [email protected]

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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