The lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute includes fraud claims, failure to warn, and separate violations of Minnesota statutes prohibiting consumer fraud, deceptive business practices, and false statements in advertising, according to an Office release. of the Attorney General.
“We are suing these defendants – API, ExxonMobil and Koch – for concealing the truth, confusing the facts, and confusing water with devastating effects,” Ellison said at a press conference.
ExxonMobil is one of the largest oil producers in the United States; Koch Industries is a Kansas-based corporation that produces petroleum products and is heavily involved in the petroleum lobby; and the American Petroleum Institute is a trade organization representing the United States oil and natural gas industry.
In addition to a court order against continued violations of consumer protection laws, the lawsuit also requests that defendants pay restitution for Minnesotans and fund a public education campaign on climate change.
With Wednesday’s presentation, Minnesota joins states like Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island to hold companies accountable for their role in the damage caused by climate change.
“When corporations and trade associations break the law and harm Minnesotans, it is my job and my duty to hold them accountable. The fraud, misleading advertising and other violations of Minnesota state law and customary law that the lawsuit shows that they perpetrated have harmed the health of Minnesotans and the environment, infrastructure and economy of our state, ”he said. Ellison in a statement.
At a press conference, Ellison said he is confident of Minnesota’s ability to win a lawsuit based on the state’s “strong” consumer protection laws.
Doug Blanke, who heads the Center for Public Health Law at Mitchell Hamline Law School, said Ellison has a solid case. Blanke worked on an earlier lawsuit that the state successfully filed against tobacco companies that cited some of the same statutes.
“Fooling the public about science is not a new concept,” Blanke said in a statement. “Unfortunately, some companies seem to care more about their results than the public’s health. But it is a violation of Minnesota law to mislead consumers about the products they sell, and the Attorney General has brought up a powerful case in which these companies did exactly that. “
At the press conference, Ellison brought speakers to the podium who explained how climate change has disproportionately affected farmers, black and indigenous populations, and younger generations.