Vermont AG Tackles Exxon and Shell for Climate Change in New Lawsuit

  • Vermont AG claims Exxon and Shell violated consumer protection law
  • The complaint demands restitution of profits, fines

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan sued Exxon Mobil Corp and Shell Oil Co in Vermont state court on Tuesday, alleging that the companies have misled Vermonters for decades with marketing that conceals contributions to the climate change and the harmful effects of burning their fuels.

The lawsuit in the Vermont Superior Court, Civil Division of Chittenden, is the latest of about two dozen similar ones brought by states and local governments, from Rhode Island to Honolulu, seeking financial relief for claim that the oil majors have hurt them by downplaying or distorting the way the fuels they sell exacerbate the environmental risks of climate change.

The Vermont lawsuit seeks reimbursement of all profits made by companies as a result of any illegal practices in the state. He claims that Exxon, Shell and a handful of fuel distributors have violated Vermont consumer protection law with their advertisements and statements at gas stations, on their websites and on social media.

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Exxon spokesman Casey Norton called the allegations “unfounded and unfounded”.

“Legal proceedings like this waste millions of taxpayer dollars and do nothing to advance meaningful action that reduces the risk of climate change,” Norton added.

Shell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Donovan said in a statement, “The people of Vermont have the right to obtain accurate information in order to make informed decisions about the products they purchase.”

State of Vermont alleges that companies have known for years, through internal research, “of the central role of their fossil fuel products” on climate change, but that they have obscured their link to climate change in media marketing to avoid losing Vermont consumers. .

Citing Exxon’s website, the complaint states, for example, that the Irving, Texas-based company claims that its Synergy brand fuel will help “reduce CO2 emissions,” but it fails to mention that the fuel remains a major contributor to climate change.

CO2, or carbon dioxide, is a greenhouse gas that is released when fuel is burned.

The adverse effects of climate change to which the companies’ products have contributed range from rising sea levels to extreme rainfall and droughts, according to the complaint.

Vermont is also asking the court to impose fines on the defendants.

Over the past two years, attorneys general in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, the District of Columbia and Delaware have sued in state courts against members of the fossil fuel industry, accusing them of violating laws. state laws by deceiving consumers about the damage caused by their products.

Previous climate lawsuits filed by cities like Baltimore and Imperial Beach in California have accused the oil and gas majors of causing public nuisance by selling their products.

A United Nations climate panel said last month in a landmark report that the world is already certain to face further climate disruption for decades.

The case is State of Vermont v. Exxon Mobil Corp, Vermont Superior Court, Chittenden Civil Division, No. N / A.

For the State of Vermont: Justin Kolber with the Office of the Attorney General of Vermont

Read more:

Exxon faces trial in Massachusetts alleging climate change deception

Oil companies reject New York City call on global warming

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Sebastien malo

Sébastien Malo reports on environmental, climate and energy disputes. Contact him at [email protected]

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