The Potluck

Minnesota sues oil giants for alleged climate change deception

By: - June 24, 2020 1:19 pm

A gas flare from the Shell Chemical LP petroleum refinery. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is suing ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute and three Koch Industries entities, alleging the companies deliberately misled Minnesotans about climate change for decades.

Ellison filed the consumer fraud lawsuit in Ramsey County Wednesday. The complaint seeks restitution for harms as a result of climate change and asks that the companies fund a public education campaign.

The complaint alleges that the companies knew about the environmental effects of fossil fuels as early as the 1970s and intentionally deceived the public about climate change science.

“The economic devastation and public-health impacts from climate change were caused, in large part, by a campaign of deception that Defendants orchestrated and executed with disturbing success,” the complaint says.

Minnesota’s temperatures have risen faster than global rates of warming, and vulnerable populations suffer the worst effects of climate change, from extreme heat to flooding, the complaint says.

“Warming will continue with devastating economic and public-health consequences across the state and, in particular, disproportionately impact people living in poverty and people of color,” the complaint says.

Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island, along with cities and counties, have filed similar lawsuits, according to the release.

ExxonKochAPI Complaint by Rilyn Eischens on Scribd

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.