Minnesota AG sues ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, API for 'climate deception' practices

The Minnesota Attorney General says the state has filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute for “deceiving” and “defrauding” Minnesotans about climate change.

The lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Keith Ellison in Ramsey County Wednesday morning, alleges the three entities violated state and common law regarding consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, misrepresentation and failure to warn. It seeks injunctive relief, restitution and a corrective public education campaign from the company.

At least 15 other plaintiffs have brought lawsuits like this one against the three defendants, including the states of Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.

According to Ellison, the lawsuit helps protect a wide variety of Minnesotans for what he calls “climate deception,” perpetrated by these companies.

“Impacts from climate change hurt our low-income residents and communities of color first and worst. The impacts on farmers in our agricultural state are widespread as well,” Ellison said in a statement. “Holding these companies accountable for the climate deception they’ve spread and continue to spread is essential to helping families to afford their lives and live with dignity and respect. It’s only fair that, as our complaint states, ‘the parties who have profited from avoiding the consequences and costs of dealing with global warming and its physical, environmental, social, and economic consequences, bear the costs of those impacts, rather than Minnesota taxpayers, residents, or broader segments of the public.’”

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, from 1951-2012, Minnesota’s climate warmed faster than both national and global rates of increase, with average annual temperature increasing by 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit in the Twin Cities metro area.