New Jersey officials announced a lawsuit on Tuesday against Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Co., Chevron Corp., BP, ConocoPhillips, and the American Petroleum Institute trade group, alleging the companies misinformed the public about the link between fossil fuels and climate change, CBS News reports. The suit was filed in the Superior Court in Mercer County.
The state claims these oil and gas companies acted deceptively so as to continue fossil fuel extraction and burning, thus worsening climate change and costing New Jersey billions of dollars in clean-up due to storms like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Ida, Reuters reports. Evidence has shown that storms like hurricanes are getting worse due to climate change.
New Jersey's is not the first lawsuit of its kind. Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont, and the District of Columbia have all filed similar claims targeting oil and gas giants for their role in delaying climate action, The Guardian reports.
In previous cases, the oil companies have attempted to remove the cases to federal court, which is typically seen as more favorable to defendants, Reuters notes.
Exxon spokesperson Casey Norton said that suits like these "waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risk of climate change." Meanwhile, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a statement that "[Oil and gas companies] went to great lengths to hide the truth and mislead the people of New Jersey, and the world."