New Jersey is the latest state to sue major oil companies for “systematically concealing” information about fossil fuel emissions and hiding their knowledge about the effects on climate change.
New Jersey joins Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Minnesota and Vermont as states suing Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhillips for efforts to stall legislation over climate change and increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events.
New Jersey’s lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Mercer County, alleges that the companies knew about the dangers of climate change for years but denied its existence to the public, leading them on misinformation campaigns instead.
Gov. Phil Murphy blames the oil and gas companies for emitting fuel emissions that exacerbate global warming and contribute to major storms hitting the state and causing damage of property, loss of life, and displacement.
Attorney General Matt Platkin called on oil and gas companies to be held accountable.
“It’s long overdue that these betrayals of their customers and of the public come to an end and that the perpetrators pay for their lies,” Platkin said Tuesday in a statement.
He also said he wants “the [oil companies] to pay for their conduct and for the people of New Jersey to receive restitution for all that they have lost.”
The lawsuit also includes the trade group American Petroleum Institute, along with the five major gas companies, for a “failure to warn” the public about the dangers of fossil fuel emissions.
The lawsuit comes near the 10th Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which state officials claim has still devasted New Jersey residents.
“These suits serve only to divert attention and resources away from the collaborative, international efforts that are critical to developing a meaningful solution to climate change,” said attorney Theodore Boutrous, who represents Chevron.