• Business Business

California hits major industry with lawsuit for allegedly spreading 'lies and mistruths': '[They] have privately known the truth for decades'

"It has been decades of damage and deception."

"It has been decades of damage and deception."

Photo Credit: iStock

California is one of the most committed regions in the United States when it comes to striving for a sustainable future.

The state is seeking to provide 100% renewable energy to residents and businesses by 2045, and it has seen billions of dollars of investment in "clean energy technologies." 

Now, it is taking on the oil industry, with the state of California filing a lawsuit against industry giants like ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP, as well as lobbying body the American Petroleum Institute.

NPR reported the suit was filed in the San Francisco Superior Court, and the focus is on claims the big players in the oil industry have been misleading the public about the dangers of dirty energy

"California is suing these big polluters to hold them accountable for their decades of deception, cover-up, and billions of dollars in harm done to our state," the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement

The Governor's office added the "lies" pushed by Big Oil over the course of decades have contributed to global heating, resulting in extreme weather events such as superstorms, wildfires, extreme heat, extreme drought, and flooding. 

"It has been decades of damage and deception," Governor Newsom continued. "Wildfires wiping out entire communities, toxic smoke clogging our air, deadly heat waves, record-breaking droughts parching our wells. California taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill. California is taking action to hold big polluters accountable."

If the state is successful, it is calling on oil companies to compensate the state and its residents for the industry's impact on the environment and to help bring protection initiatives to mitigate against future damage that rising temperatures bring. It is also hoping to stop oil companies from engaging in further pollution and to cease misinformation campaigns. 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta is also leading the lawsuit. 

"Oil and gas companies have privately known the truth for decades — that the burning of fossil fuels leads to climate change — but have fed us lies and mistruths to further their record-breaking profits at the expense of our environment," he said. "Enough is enough."

According to Cal Fire, there have been 5,741 wildfire incidents in the state in 2023 alone, with over 305,000 acres burned. 

As California Local observed, Southern California saw its first tropical storm since 1939 in August, leading to record quantities of rainfall in Palm Springs, San Diego, and downtown Los Angeles. The state also saw its hottest recorded month in history in July, and 12 major rainstorms were recorded earlier in the year.

It's clear, then, that California is bearing a significant burden when it comes to the impact of global heating, and the lawsuit will leave Big Oil with a lot to answer for.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider