Climate Hawks Vote (CHV) is calling upon state attorneys general to open probes whether ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) committed any wrongdoing in their states through its decades-long campaign of climate-change denial. CHV members have already called for a Department of Justice investigation to be launched.
RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote, states: “State attorneys general need to look at what laws Exxon and its ilk have violated with their ongoing campaign of climate deception. All fifty states are now suffering damages from greenhouse pollution, from sea level rise to wildfire and drought intensification. State RICO laws, laws such as California’s Unfair Business Practices statute (Bus. & Prof. Code sec. 17200 et seq.) and New York’s Martin Act (Gen. Bus. Law sec. 352 et seq.), or consumer fraud laws may well be involved. There are big discrepancies between what Exxon knew, and what Exxon told the public and its shareholders. And Congress won’t act – Rep. Lamar Smith is too busy harassing NOAA with subpoenas – so states need to investigate.”
Many states have attorneys general who have acted before to address climate pollution:
- Kamala Harris of California
- George Jepsen of Connecticut
- Matthew Denn of Delaware
- Doug Chin of Hawaii
- Lisa Madigan of Illinois
- Tom Miller of Iowa
- Janet Mills of Maine
- Brian Frosh of Maryland
- Maura Healey of Massachusetts
- Joseph Foster of New Hampshire
- Hector Balderas of New Mexico
- Eric Schneiderman of New York
- Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon
- Peter Kilmartin of Rhode Island
- William Sorrell of Vermont
- Bob Ferguson of Washington
We call on these 16 to act. All of these attorneys general are known climate hawks, and all except for Frosh of Maryland, have recently vowed to defend the Clean Power Plan in court, fighting the state attorneys general who are in the pocket of climate polluters like Exxon.
The first major tobacco litigation was filed by the state attorney general of Mississippi—litigation that ultimately included 46 states and the Department of Justice. Commentators have remarked on the striking parallels between cigarette companies and Exxon—in both cases, what they knew privately about the risks of their products versus what they told the public.