ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison sued ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday, alleging they deceived and defrauded Minnesotans about climate change.
The lawsuit, filed in Ramsey County District Court, accuses the oil companies and trade group of consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices. It seeks unspecified restitution, a corrective public education campaign and an injunction against continued violations.
“We’re here suing these defendants — API, ExxonMobil and Koch — for hiding the truth, confusing the facts and muddling the water to devastating effect,” Ellison said in a news conference.
At least 15 other units of government have brought similar lawsuits, including Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.
Ellison wouldn’t specify a dollar figure for the damages he’ll seek but said, “it’s going to be a lot.” He said it could be akin to Minnesota’s $7 billion 1998 settlement with the tobacco industry.
ExxonMobil denounced the lawsuit as baseless and without merit.
“This lawsuit is part of a coordinated, politically motivated campaign against energy companies,” spokesman Casey Norton said in an email. “Legal proceedings like this waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change.”
Representatives of Koch and the institute did not immediately reply to messages seeking comment.
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