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The State of New Jersey sued five oil and gas companies in New Jersey Superior Court on Tuesday for hiding the disastrous effects of climate change from New Jersey and the world, while profiting from fossil fuel products, for decades.
New Jersey sued Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips, along with the trade association American Petroleum Institute (API), for knowingly hiding the fact that using fossil fuels was causing global warming, exacerbating the climate crisis, and continuing to mislead the public about the impact of their activities on the climate.
New Jersey’s lawsuit against oil companies brings claims of failure to warn, negligence, impairment of public trust, trespass, public and private nuisance, and violations of the Consumer Fraud Act. According to the lawsuit, the companies conducted research on the connection between fossil fuels and the environment as early as the 1950s and understood the adverse effects in the mid-1960s, but kept it from the public and failed to warn about impending climate change while moving to protect their own infrastructure from sea level rise.
The complaint alleges that oil and gas companies, along with API, orchestrated false or misleading advertisements and publicity campaigns and continue to do so with “greenwashing” claims that certain products are “green” or “clean,” while knowing they are the causes of climate change. The State claims that the State of New Jersey is suffering, and will continue to suffer, injuries from their conduct.
The suit asks the court for an injunction to stop the companies from deceiving New Jersey residents about the effects of their products, and for civil monetary penalties and damages, to compensate for the fact that taxpayers have been forced to cover the State’s expenses in responding to natural resource damages caused by the defendants.
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