Minnesota Files Lawsuit Against Fossil Fuel Companies

The state of Minnesota yesterday filed a lawsuit against the American Petroleum Institute (API), Exxon Mobil Corp and Koch Industries that stated that the companies violated Minnesota laws prohibiting consumer fraud, deceptive business practices and false advertising.

Minnesota is the first state to name the API, the largest oil and gas lobby in the United States, as the defendant.

Flint Hills Resources LP and Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend are also mentioned in the lawsuit. Koch Industries owns the Pine Bend Oil Refinery through its subsidiary Flint Hills Resources.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said:

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.

Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that from 1997 to 2017, “Koch-controlled foundations gave more than $ 127 million to groups that obfuscated climate science.”

Ellison said the state wants defendants to fund an educational campaign on climate change and pay for the damage caused by global warming.

A number of lawsuits have been filed against fossil fuel companies by states, cities, and counties. The New York State lawsuit against Exxon was dismissed because the judge ruled that New York could not demonstrate that the investors were misled. New York’s demand was investor-based, while Minnesota’s was consumer-based.

DeSmog reports:

The Minnesota lawsuit is very similar to the Massachusetts case in consumer fraud complaints in violation of state consumer protection statutes. But the Minnesota lawsuit targets other defendants besides Exxon and is the first in the country to target Koch Industries and API.

According to the Stellar Grandstand, state environmental groups welcomed the lawsuit, including the Minnesota Center for Environmental Defense, Honor the Earth, Fresh Energy and MN350.

MN350 CEO Sam Grant said:

We have a choice about freedom of profit or freedom to breathe.

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