Newly revealed documents show that Exxon’s own scientists were aware of and studying the dangerous impacts of greenhouse gases in the 1970s and 1980s -- until Exxon’s leadership decided to shut down the research and promote climate denial instead, in order to protect the company’s unfathomably large profits.
The attorneys general of the 50 United States have the power to prosecute Exxon’s deliberate climate deception under racketeering and consumer fraud laws - just as 46 states and the the Department of Justice did to the tobacco industry for knowingly lying about the dangers of cigarette smoking.
Tell state attorneys general: Investigate and prosecute Exxon and its fellow fossil-fuel companies for deliberate and malicious climate deception.
Exxon is scared and desperate. The oil giant is currently under investigation by three US State Attorneys General for possible fraud based on what Exxon knew about climate change and what they did with that information. And a host of environmental organizations have been digging into Exxon on their own.
To fight back, Lamar Smith (R-TX-21) and the House Science Committee have subpoenaed the State AGs in Massachusetts and New York, along with eight different green organizations. This unprecedented meddling into state investigations is shocking, even for a climate shill like Lamar Smith, who has received $432,150 from the oil & gas industry since 2008.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said “Let’s be frank: The House is broken. We’re not solving problems. We’re adding to them.” It’s time for him to put turn his words into action and fix this problem that Lamar Smith has created.
Paul Ryan: If you want the House to solve problems, here’s one place to start. It’s time for the House to stop shilling for ExxonMobil. Tell the House Science Committee to retract their subpoenas.
ADD YOUR NAME TO THIS PETITION
Paul Ryan, tell Rep. Lamar Smith and the House Science Committee to retract their subpoenas of state attorneys general investigating the fossil-fuel industry and organizations critical of ExxonMobil.
Exciting news from the Los Angeles Times: "California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris is investigating whether Exxon Mobil Corp. repeatedly lied to the public and its shareholders about the risk to its business from climate change — and whether such actions could amount to securities fraud and violations of environmental laws."
Sign our thank you to Attorney General Harris for being a true climate hawk. We will personally deliver your name to her office:
On January 12, 2016, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party unanimously passed a resolution calling upon California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate Exxon Mobil and fellow fossil fuel companies for potential breaches of California law based on their 1970s-era research into the science of climate change, then pouring millions into manufacturing doubt and denial of climate science. Exxon’s coverup has been well documented in the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News.
RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote, states: “The #ExxonKnew story broke on the Los Angeles Times on October 9, 2015. A Los Angeles-area member of Congress, Ted Lieu (CA-33), has asked the federal Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission to get involved. Exxon does business in California and has California shareholders, and may have violated California law. Yet apparently the only thing California’s attorney general has done is read, in the New York Times, about the investigation begun by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. Thus, I wrote a resolution calling on her to act.”
Bill McKibben, founder of the climate group 350.org and a member of Climate Hawks Vote’s board of directors, states: “Few issues unite everyone concerned about climate like the news that Exxon knew about, and lied about, climate change. It's not easy for elected officials to stand up to one of the biggest, richest companies in the country, but both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have called for a prompt, thorough investigation. Kamala Harris has the power to make that happen; let's hope she doesn't punt on this crucial test.”
Ted Lieu, Democratic member of Congress representing part of Los Angeles County, states: “I commend Los Angeles County Democrats for calling for the investigation of ExxonMobil. The company's scientists confirmed the truth about the role of fossil fuels in influencing climate change decades ago, yet Exxon intentionally implemented a public campaign of mass deception about climate science. Exxon has set back all of humanity. I call on Attorney Generals everywhere to investigate ExxonMobil.”
The LACDP resolution is virtually identical to one passed by the Ventura County Democratic Party on December 8, 2015. Will other California county Democratic parties take up similar resolutions? Miller says only: “ask me in a month.”
Harris is running for Senate, where she faces a critical California Democratic Party endorsement vote on February 27. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party is the largest Democratic party in the state.
Text of the resolution follows:
CALLING UPON CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KAMALA HARRIS TO INVESTIGATE EXXON
WHEREAS, newly revealed documents show that Exxon’s own scientists were aware of and studying the dangerous impacts of greenhouse gases in the 1970s and 1980s, and shared that research with other fossil fuel companies -- until Exxon’s leadership decided to shut down the research and promote climate denial instead, in order to protect the company’s large profits, as documented in the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News; and
WHEREAS, climate change fueled by Exxon among other fossil fuel companies has dramatically affected California, including an exceptional drought causing crop losses, heat-driven wildfires destroying homes, an anticipated record-breaking El Nino, sea level rise threatening the iconic California coastline, with impacts predicted to accelerate over time; and
WHEREAS, the California Attorney General has the power to bring civil and criminal actions against wrongdoers whose actions harm the people of the state of California;
THEREFORE be it resolved that the Los Angeles County Democratic Party calls upon state Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate any breaches of California law by Exxon Mobil and all potentially liable entities, and pursue all available legal remedies; and
THEREFORE be it further resolved that this resolution be transmitted to the office of the California Attorney General, to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Hannah-Beth Jackson, and to Governor Jerry Brown.
Co-sign our letter to Columbia University President Dr. Lee Bollinger, asking that he compel Jason Bordoff, founding director of Columbia’s Global Center on Energy Policy, to release the names of the Center’s funders and amounts donated since its inception. Recently, it was revealed that ExxonMobil donated, through its foundation, $25,000 to the Center on Global Energy Policy in 2014. An examination of the Advisory Board of the Global Center on Climate Policy reveals that nine of 19 members have ties to fossil fuel industries.
Read the full letter here (PDF).
Climate Hawks Vote launched the campaign to prosecute Exxon for its decades of climate deception—and started a movement. We are committed to bringing Exxon to justice for its climate crimes. This won't be an easy fight, but we're working with the activists and experts who took on the tobacco industry—and won—to ensure victory in our campaign against the oil industry's climate-denial conspiracy. To sustain our campaign efforts, we need your support. Make a recurring contribution today.Donate
As first revealed in the New York Times, New York Attorney General Schneiderman has issued sweeping subpoenas to the fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil (XOM) investigating whether the company adequately warned investors about financial risks stemming from society’s need to limit fossil fuels. The subpoenas may expand to cover other oil companies as well.
RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote, states:
“Climate Hawks Vote applauds the bold leadership of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his investigation into ExxonMobil’s history of deliberate climate deception. We’ve known for years that the oil industry, led by Exxon, finances a climate-denial network of politicians, think tanks, and right-wing media in order to protect their gargantuan profits. Now all fifty states are now suffering damages from greenhouse pollution, from sea level rise to wildfire and drought intensification. It is time for U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other state attorneys general to follow Schneiderman’s lead and bring Exxon to justice.”
Climate Hawks Vote was the first organization to call for a federal investigation of ExxonMobil in response to journalistic investigations of its history of knowing climate deception, and the first to call for action by state attorneys general.
The Climate Hawks Vote petition can be seen here: http://www.climatehawksvote.com/prosecute_exxon
Leaders of many of the country’s largest environmental groups, civil rights organizations, and indigenous people’s movements issued a joint letter today calling on the Department of Justice to investigate ExxonMobil, after revelations that the company knew about climate change as early as the 1970s, but chose to mislead the public about the crisis in order to maximize their profits from fossil fuels.
“ExxonMobil has known for decades that their product is deadly, and then used tobacco-industry tactics to cover that up. It's time for them to pay," said Climate Hawks Vote President RL Miller. "We at Climate Hawks Vote is proud to have so many groups join our campaign to demand a federal investigation of their climate crimes.”
The letter is a remarkable show of unity, with groups ranging from the Audubon Society to the Foundation of Women in Hip Hop, and will help keep the spotlight on Exxon as new revelations continue to emerge. Over the last week, pressure has continued to build for a federal investigation, with all of the Democratic presidential candidates—Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton—calling on the DOJ to act.
Climate Hawks Vote was the first group to call for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to launch a racketeering investigation of ExxonMobil and the fossil-fuel industry in response to the recent news reports.
Here is the full text of the letter and list of signatories:
Dear Attorney General Lynch,
As leaders of some of the nation’s environmental, indigenous peoples and civil rights groups, we’re writing to ask that you initiate a federal probe into the conduct of ExxonMobil. New revelations in the Los Angeles Times and the Pulitzer-prize-winning InsideClimate News strongly suggest that the corporation knew about the dangers of climate change even as it funded efforts at climate denial and systematically misled the public.
Given the damage that has already occurred from climate change—particularly in the poorest communities of our nation and our planet—and that will certainly occur going forward, these revelations should be viewed with the utmost apprehension. They are reminiscent—though potentially much greater in scale—than similar revelations about the tobacco industry.
These journalists have provided a remarkable roadmap to this corporation’s potential misconduct. We would ask that you follow that map wherever it may lead, employing all the tools at your disposal to uncover the truth.
Margie Alt, Executive Director of Environment America
Kenny Ausubel, Nina Simons, Founders of Bioneers
Sally Bingham, President and Founder of Interfaith Power and Light
May Boeve, Bill McKibben, Founders of 350.org
Michael Brune, Executive Director of Sierra Club
Robert Bullard, Author and John Muir Award winner, 2013
Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of International Indian Treaty Council
Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands)
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network
James Hansen, Director, Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions Program, Columbia University Earth Institute
Reverend Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of Greenfaith
David Helvarg, Executive Director of Blue Frontier
Gene Karpinski, President of League of Conservation Voters
Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska
Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director and Founder of Oil Change International
Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund
Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth
Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA
RL Miller, President of Climate Hawks Vote
Matt Nelson, Managing Director of Presente.org
Brant Olson, Campaign Director at Climate Truth
Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth
Cindy Shogan, Executive Director of Alaska Wilderness League
Reverend Fred Small, President of Creation Coalition
Gus Speth, Former Dean Yale School of Forestry and the Environment
Tom Steyer, Founder of NextGen
Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council
Vien Truong, Director of Green for All
Joe Uehlein, Executive Director of Labor Network for Sustainability
Tripp Van Noppen, President of Earthjustice
David Yarnold, President of the Audubon Society
Reverend Lennox Yearwood, President of Hip Hop Caucus
Trip Van Nopen, Earth Justice
Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica
Resilience Collaborative, LLC
A Philip Randolph Institute
Energy Action Coalition
Divest Invest Individual
Bean Soup Times
Ecumenical Poverty Initiative
Beats Rhymes & Relief
Freddie Gray Project
Beloved Community Center
Neighbors United of Southeast Greensboro, NC
The Foundation of Women in Hip Hop
The Gathering for Justice/Justice League NYC
J Dilla Foundation
Climate Hawks Vote (CHV) is calling upon state attorneys general to open probes whether ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) committed any wrongdoing in their states through its decades-long campaign of climate-change denial. CHV members have already called for a Department of Justice investigation to be launched.
RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote, states: “State attorneys general need to look at what laws Exxon and its ilk have violated with their ongoing campaign of climate deception. All fifty states are now suffering damages from greenhouse pollution, from sea level rise to wildfire and drought intensification. State RICO laws, laws such as California’s Unfair Business Practices statute (Bus. & Prof. Code sec. 17200 et seq.) and New York’s Martin Act (Gen. Bus. Law sec. 352 et seq.), or consumer fraud laws may well be involved. There are big discrepancies between what Exxon knew, and what Exxon told the public and its shareholders. And Congress won’t act - Rep. Lamar Smith is too busy harassing NOAA with subpoenas - so states need to investigate.”
Many states have attorneys general who have acted before to address climate pollution:
- Kamala Harris of California
- George Jepsen of Connecticut
- Matthew Denn of Delaware
- Doug Chin of Hawaii
- Lisa Madigan of Illinois
- Tom Miller of Iowa
- Janet Mills of Maine
- Brian Frosh of Maryland
- Maura Healey of Massachusetts
- Joseph Foster of New Hampshire
- Hector Balderas of New Mexico
- Eric Schneiderman of New York
- Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon
- Peter Kilmartin of Rhode Island
- William Sorrell of Vermont
- Bob Ferguson of Washington
We call on these 16 to act. All of these attorneys general are known climate hawks, and all except for Frosh of Maryland, have recently vowed to defend the Clean Power Plan in court, fighting the state attorneys general who are in the pocket of climate polluters like Exxon.
The first major tobacco litigation was filed by the state attorney general of Mississippi—litigation that ultimately included 46 states and the Department of Justice. Commentators have remarked on the striking parallels between cigarette companies and Exxon—in both cases, what they knew privately about the risks of their products versus what they told the public.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are investigating ExxonMobil for its decades of deliberate climate deception. We’re calling on Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice to follow suit.
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