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California Takes Legal Action Against Major Oil Corporations, Accusing them of Underrating Fossil Fuel Dangers

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

In a significant move in the realm of environmental justice, the state of California initiated a lawsuit against some of the world's major oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp, Shell PLC, and Chevron Corp. The court documents, filed on Friday, contend that these corporations are downplaying the inherent risks presented by their continued reliance on fossil fuels.

The lawsuit, which also implicates BP and Conoco Phillips, asserts that the deceptive practices of these recognized energy behemoths have led to damages amounting to tens of billions of dollars. The accusations do not end there; the companies are also accused of actively misleading the public about their activities. The lawsuit was filed in a Superior Court located in San Francisco, California.

The defendants in this lawsuit extend beyond the energy corporations themselves. The filing also includes the American Petroleum Institute, further involving the wider oil industry. This trade organization has countered that climate policy should be in the hands of Congress, not the courts.

Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, expressed his support for the lawsuit on social media, saying "California is taking action to hold big polluters accountable."

Newsom's administration is not just seeking retrospective damages. They are also requesting the creation of an abatement fund. This fund will be used to cover the costs associated with future climate-related disasters in the state.

The companies targeted by the lawsuit have displayed mixed responses. While Shell PLC and the American Petroleum Institute have already communicated their disagreement with the legal approach, Chevron, BP, Exxon Mobil Corp, and ConocoPhillips have not yet provided any comment on the matter.

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