The Minnesota attorney general sued Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and Koch Industries on Wednesday for violating state laws barring consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices and false advertising. “We’re here suing these defendants … for hiding the truth, confusing the facts and muddling the water to devastating effect,” Attorney General Keith Ellison said at a news conference. At least 15 other states and municipalities have brought similar lawsuits, but the Minnesota lawsuit is the first naming API, the nation’s main oil and gas industry lobby group, as a defendant.
The state will seek “a lot” in damages, possibly akin to the state’s settlement with the tobacco industry. “Impacts from climate change hurt our low-income residents and communities of color first and worst,” Ellison said. “Holding these companies accountable for the climate deception they’ve spread and continue to spread is essential to helping families to afford their lives and live with dignity and respect.” (InsideClimate News, AP, Minneapolis Star Tribune $, Politico Pro $, Reuters, The Hill, Al Jazeera, Wall Street Journal $)