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Minnesota Launches Lawsuit to Hold Big Oil Accountable for Climate Crimes

by Ryan Schleeter

June 24, 2020

"Climate denial is not a victimless crime, and it’s time for the perpetrators to be held accountable."

© Gus Ruelas / Greenpeace

Today, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a consumer protection lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) for decades of deception, climate pollution, and harms to public health. Minnesota will join Massachusetts in suing Exxon for its role in misleading the public on climate change, and will become the first state to name Koch Industries and API in such a case.

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

“Climate denial is not a victimless crime, and it’s time for the perpetrators to be held accountable. We fully support Attorney General Ellison in standing up for Minnesotans’ health and human rights by confronting the architects of the climate crisis for their deception. To this day, companies like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute paint themselves as climate allies while quietly pouring millions of dollars into misleading advertising and front groups designed to obscure the science of climate change. Enough is enough. 

“Fossil fuel corporations have known for 50 years that continuing to burn oil, gas, and coal would lead to catastrophic climate change. Their inaction and delay have deadly consequences, especially for the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities who bear the brunt of climate-fueled extreme weather and pollution. As our country confronts the interwoven crises of climate change, systemic racism, and COVID-19, we cannot afford to return to a ‘normal’ in which fossil fuel CEOs recklessly put profit over people. We thank Attorney General Ellison for championing the call for accountability, and look forward to seeing other states and local governments follow suit.”

ENDS

Notes:

The full complaint filed today is available here: https://www.ag.state.mn.us/Office/Communications/2020/docs/ExxonKochAPI_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

Greenpeace research shows that Koch Family Foundations funneled $145,555,729 to 90 organizations that attack climate change science and policy solutions between 1997 and 2018: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global-warming/climate-deniers/koch-industries/

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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