Vermont claims in new lawsuit against oil companies misled the public about climate change

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The state government of Vermont sued several oil companies on Tuesday, alleging they had misled the public about the impact of fossil fuels on climate change.

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan (D) announced the ruling on Twitter, writing: “Today I am suing Exxon Mobil Corporation, Shell Oil Company, Sunoco LP, CITGO Petroleum Corporation and other related companies for practices deceptive and unfair. “

“We will not stand idly by while these companies lie about the dramatic effects their products have on the climate,” he added.

In the lawsuit, Donovan accused the companies of violating the Vermont Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) by “engaging in numerous deceptive acts and unfair practices in connection with their marketing, distribution and sale of gasoline. and other fossil fuels produced for consumers within the state.

Donovan alleged that by misleading consumers about the connection between fossil fuels and climate change, these oil companies denied “Vermont consumers the opportunity to make informed and different decisions about fossil fuel purchases and consumption.”

The Vermont attorney general went on to accuse the companies of “green laundering” by projecting an image of being environmentally conscious while failing to recognize the role their products have in increasing global temperatures.

He argued that while increasing their production of environmentally friendly social media posts, these oil companies have increased their production and investment in fossil fuels, thereby denying what they have said publicly.

As part of the lawsuit, Donovan demanded that a judge order the oil companies named as defendants to stop “engaging in unfair or deceptive acts and practices” and compel them to disclose funds acquired through their “illegal practices.” “.

The Hill has asked for comments from the oil companies named in the lawsuit.

“Legal proceedings like this waste millions of taxpayer dollars and do nothing to advance meaningful action that reduces the risk of climate change,” ExxonMobil said in a statement to The Hill.

“ExxonMobil will continue to invest in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting society’s growing demand for energy. The claims are unfounded and unfounded. We look forward to defending the company in court.

Vermont is the most recent state government to sue oil companies over climate change issues. In recent years, states such as Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island have all sued oil companies for allegedly misleading consumers and investors about the role of their products. had in worsening climate change.

Updated at 5:54 p.m.



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