Statement: Fresh Energy Applauds Attorney General’s Lawsuit Against Climate Polluters

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On June 24, 2020, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a consumer protection lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute (API). This lawsuit will hold these major climate polluters accountable for their decades-long falsehoods about the climate harm their products have been causing in Minnesota and the reverberating effects of this harm felt in all corners of the state.  

“Climate polluters like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute have lied about climate change for decades and Minnesotans have been paying the price. Fresh Energy applauds Attorney General Ellison for standing up for all Minnesotans and holding these companies accountable for their public deception about carbon pollution,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy. 

In Minnesota, the effects of climate change due to global warming from the burning of fossil fuels are undeniable. The state is experiencing more extreme weather events than ever before – like record heavy downpours, flooding, and substantial warming that are harming the health and wellbeing of Minnesotans, and costing citizens and the state millions of dollars in damages.  

“Decades ago, the scientists at ExxonMobil demonstrated to management that climate change was ‘potentially catastrophic,’ but instead ExxonMobil and its allies like Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute waged public campaigns to spread climate denial and deliberately deceive the public, media, and lawmakers about the threat,” said Michael Noble, executive director, Fresh Energy. “We applaud Attorney General Ellison’s lawsuit that puts the interests of Minnesotans before those of polluters when it comes to funding all of the infrastructure and adaptation investments that are essential to protect Minnesota from the consequences of a changing climate.”  

Along with these extreme weather events, the increased air pollution and other climate change impacts are threatening public health and resulting in increasing costs of healthcare. These threats often fall hardest on Black and Indigenous Minnesotans and other communities of color. These communities are disproportionately affected by air pollution due to our existing social structures like inequitable access to health care, as well as disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards caused by zoning, redlining, and other discriminatory policies. 

Read the full complaint from the Office of the Attorney General here.