Today, Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced the district is suing Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron, and Shell for deceiving D.C. residents about climate change. He is the fifth attorney general to launch a suit, doing so just one day after Minnesota AG Ellison announced his case against Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute and several Koch Industries entities. This lawsuit is the latest in a slew of cases during what has been called “Big Oil’s Big Tobacco moment.”
This announcement takes place amid historic protests demanding justice for Black lives. The fossil fuel industry has, for decades, inflicted harm and violence on and targeted Black and Brown people around the world — profiting off of and perpetuating systemic racism in the U.S. and globally. Meanwhile, governments have protected the fossil fuel industry’s interests and bloated the budgets of police and other forms of state-sanctioned violence that brutalize Black and Brown communities and target environmental defenders while refusing to invest in communities and people-first solutions.
Please see below for a statement from Corporate Accountability U.S. Climate Campaign Director Sriram Madhusoodanan.
“We applaud AG Racine for heeding the calls of people in Washington D.C. and around the world in suing the biggest and baddest Big Polluters — Exxon, BP, Chevron and Shell — for misleading people about climate change to protect their profits. This is yet another powerful step forward for the global movement to make Big Polluters pay.
This lawsuit, which comes right on the heels of Minnesota’s, puts the fossil fuel industry on notice and is a clear indication that people and decision-makers are no longer willing to tolerate the deception and abuses of Big Polluters. And the courts are increasingly on the side of the people: From Maryland to California, courts are denying Big Polluter attempts to block these lawsuits, clearing the way for more people, cities and states to take action to make them pay.
As this trend continues, the fate of Big Polluters in U.S. courtrooms is looking more and more similar to that of Big Tobacco. The fossil fuel industry has knowingly fueled the climate crisis without regard for the impact its business has on the environment and people, especially Black, Brown and Indigenous people around the globe. This lawsuit is one more step toward justice.”