California sues major oil companies for alleged climate change deception

Gov. Newsom and AG Bonta say they are taking a stand to hold major polluters accountable.

Photo by Felton Davis on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

On Saturday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, alongside Governor Gavin Newsom, announced the filing of a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and the American Petroleum Institute (API), “for allegedly engaging in a decades-long campaign of deception and creating statewide climate change-related harms in California.”

According to a press release from AG Bonta’s office, the complaint, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, contends that despite being aware since the 1960s of the detrimental impact of fossil fuel combustion on the environment and climate, these companies opted to publicly deny or downplay climate change in their statements and marketing efforts.

AG Bonta says, “With our lawsuit, California stakes its claim as the largest geographic area and economy to challenge these major oil corporations in court. The undeniable reality of the climate crisis, ranging from sweltering heatwaves to crippling droughts and water scarcity, demands accountability. It is high time they shoulder the responsibility for rectifying the damage they have caused. We are committed to rising to this occasion and championing the cause of all Californians, especially those residing in communities dedicated to environmental justice.”

For his part, Governor Newsom said, “For over half a century, Big Oil has deceived us — obscuring the fact that they’ve long understood the perilous nature of the fossil fuels they extract. California taxpayers shouldn’t be left holding the bag for billions in damages — devastating wildfires eradicating entire communities, toxic smog choking our air, lethal heatwaves, and unprecedented droughts desiccating our wells. Through this lawsuit, California is taking a stand to hold these major polluters accountable and ensure our citizens receive the justice they rightfully deserve.”

The governor’s office says the lawsuit is comprehensive in its aims. It seeks court orders mandating oil companies to shoulder the costs of environmental and public health impacts, to prevent further pollution and harm to California, to impose financial penalties for deceptive practices, and to award punitive damages as a consequence of their alleged misconduct.

Sources (8)
helpPrimary sources where the above facts were found.
Attorney General Bonta Announces Lawsuit
People of the State of California v. Big Oil | California Governor