NJ sues oil, gas companies and trade group over climate change


JERSEY CITY, NJ (AP) — New Jersey officials announced a lawsuit Tuesday against five oil and gas companies and an oil trading organization, alleging they have known for decades about the harmful impact of fossil fuels on climate change. climate, but instead misled the public about it. link.

Attorney General Matthew Platkin and the state’s Consumer Affairs Division and Department of Environmental Protection said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Mercer County Superior Court names Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Co. Chevron Corp., BP, ConocoPhillips and the American Petroleum Institute trade group. of which all are members.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to warn the public about the role of fossil fuels in climate change and instead ‘launched public relations campaigns to sow doubt about the existence, causes and effects of climate change’. .

“Based on their own research, these companies understood decades ago that their products were causing climate change and would have devastating environmental impacts down the road,” Platkin said in a statement. “They went to great lengths to hide the truth and deceive the people of New Jersey and the world.”

Shawn LaTourette, the state’s Environmental Protection Commissioner, called New Jersey “ground zero” for some of the worst impacts of climate change. The commissioner added that Garden State communities and the environment are “continuously recovering from extreme heat, raging storms and devastating flooding.

The suit comes shortly before the 10th anniversary of Super Hurricane Sandy, which devastated large parts of New Jersey and New York. The lawsuit announcement was made at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, which was inundated by floodwaters from the storm.

Lawsuit seeks civil penalties and damages, including for damage to natural resources such as wetlands, alleging taxpayers will have to pay billions of dollars to protect communities from rising sea levels , more deadly storms and other adverse effects and arguing that these costs should be paid by the defendants.

A number of other states and cities have filed similar lawsuits against oil and gas companies in recent years.

The Shell Group said in a statement that its stance on climate change “has been a matter of public record for decades” and the company agreed action was needed and that it was playing its part “in tackling our own emissions and helping customers reduce theirs”. “

“As the energy system evolves, so will our business, to provide the range of products our customers need and to extend the economic and social benefits of energy access to all,” the company said. society. Shell said, however, that “true collaboration ‘a company-wide approach’ was needed and the courtroom was not ‘the right place’. Instead, the company said that “Smart government policy, backed by action from all sectors, including our own, and from civil society, is the appropriate way to find solutions and get things done.”

Exxon Mobil spokesman Casey Norton said such legal proceedings “waste millions of taxpayer dollars and do nothing to advance meaningful action that reduces climate change risk.” Norton said the company “will continue to invest in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting society’s growing demand for energy.”

Chevron called the lawsuit “entertainment from the serious problem of global climate change, not an attempt to find a real solution.” One representative called it an attempt “to punish a select group of energy companies for a problem resulting from global conduct dating back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.” The company called the allegations “legally and factually baseless” and pledged to “prove it in court” while continuing to work with the public and private sectors “to develop real solutions to global climate change.”

Representatives for BP and ConocoPhillips declined to comment; a message seeking comments has also been sent to the professional organization.


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