Vermont sues oil companies for allegedly falsifying weather data

Vermont on Tuesday became the latest state to sue some of the nation’s top fossil fuel companies, alleging they misled the public about the impact their products have on climate change.

The state wants businesses to tell consumers that using fossil fuel products harms the environment, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan said after the lawsuit was filed in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington.

The warnings could be similar to those that point out the danger of tobacco products or food products that include nutritional and caloric information, he said.

Donovan, speaking in front of the Chittenden County Courthouse in downtown Burlington, where the lawsuit was filed, said they are not trying to stop companies from selling their products in the state and that Vermonters will continue to use fossil fuels.

“What we’re saying is that Vermonters have a right to know,” Donovan said. “Give Vermonters accurate information. Put a label on the product and let the Vermonters decide.”

The lawsuit names ExxonMobil Corporation, Shell Oil Company, Sunoco LP, CITGO Petroleum Corporation and other corporations.

In an email Tuesday, Casey Norton, a spokesperson for ExxonMobil, said the lawsuit was without merit or merit and that they hope to defend the company in court.

“Legal procedures like this waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to promote meaningful action to reduce the risks of climate change,” he said.

Citgo declined to comment on pending litigation. The other two companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Vermont lawsuit seeks to prevent defendants from participating in what the lawsuit alleges to be the most unfair or deceptive acts and practices.

“They have known for decades that the Earth’s climate has been changing due to emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and that the fossil fuels they sell are the main source of those emissions,” the suit says.

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Despite that knowledge, companies have continued to sell their products in Vermont without informing consumers of the effect those products have on their environment, according to the lawsuit.

“They market fossil fuel products to Vermont consumers by announcing that their use of their products is supposedly better for the environment than other products, while remaining silent in advertisements about the continuing and significant contributions their products actually make to emissions. greenhouse gases and climate change. the suit said.

TO Recent report of the UN-appointed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change He said global warming is already accelerating sea level rise and worsening extremes like heat waves, droughts, floods and storms.

Vermont’s lawsuit was filed under the Vermont Consumer Protection Act, alleging that the companies misled the public about their actions, not because of any alleged environmental damage.

The Center for Climate Integrity says Vermont is the sixth state to file a lawsuit against major oil and gas companies related to their alleged role in climate change. The District of Columbia has also filed a similar lawsuit.

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