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Several Environmental Organizations Call for California to Join State Investigations into Exxon
Groups deliver petitions to Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s California offices
SAN FRANCISCO - Eight environmental organizations launched a series of petition deliveries to the California offices of Attorney General Xavier Becerra asking him to investigate what Exxon knew about climate change, when it knew it, and what it did with that knowledge.
Greenpeace, CREDO Action, 350.org, ClimateTruth.org, Friends of the Earth, Corporate Accountability International, Climate Hawks Vote, and Fossil Free California started petition deliveries to the six attorney general offices and will deliver to the main Sacramento office tomorrow. Collectively, the organizations have gathered more than 70,000 petitions from people in California. The groups will continue deliveries in the lead up to the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC on April 29th with sister events all over the country.
In September 2015, InsideClimate News, the Los Angeles Times, and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism revealed that Exxon was researching the causes of climate change and the dangers of climate disruption since at least the 1970s. Since then, the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general have launched investigations into the oil company. At the request of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last month, a New York judge ruled that Exxon turn over emails on climate change written by then-Exxon CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson under an alias, “Wayne Tracker.”
In February, 18 of California’s delegates to the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to Attorney General Becerra asking him to investigate Exxon. Last week, more than 30 environmental organizations called on Attorney General Becerra to do the same.
Quotes From Participating Organizations:
“Attorney General Becerra has a chance to launch a historic investigation on behalf of Californians who are on the frontlines of climate change. California can stand up to Trump whose administration is bending over backwards for the fossil fuel industry at the expense of everyday people in this country. Exxon has spent decades profiting off of carbon emissions and misleading the public about the devastation those emissions would cause. Just like the tobacco industry, the most important law enforcers in our country must judge Exxon and its fossil fuel allies for the pain they have caused the people of this country,” said Greenpeace USA Climate Liability Campaigner Naomi Ages.
"Exxon has spent millions of dollars funding a systematic disinformation campaign disputing the science of climate change in order to keep profits high by delaying climate action. California has paid the consequences with unprecedented drought, historic wildfires and deadly heat waves. If Exxon executives lied to their shareholders and the public about the risks of their products, Californians deserve to know. Attorney General Becerra has the authority and resources to help us find out and that’s exactly what we’re calling on him to do," said CREDO Campaign Manager Brandy Doyle.
“California prides itself as a global climate leader. By opening an aggressive investigation into decades of Exxon climate malfeasance Attorney General Becerra has a world class opportunity to assert California’s leadership on the international climate stage. Failure by AG Becerra to hold Exxon accountable for their willful misrepresentation of what the company knew about the environmental dangers of fossil fuels would be nothing more than offering protection to a powerful polluter at the expense of people and the planet,” said Friends of the Earth Senior California Advocacy Campaigner Gary Hughes.
"With the Trump administration’s deplorable and dangerous abdication on climate, California’s leadership on many fronts of this battle is essential—and all eyes are on our state’s policies and actions in response to Washington,” said Janet Cox of Fossil Free California. “Fortunately, our elected leaders are stepping up to oppose Trump’s retrograde policies. Attorney General Becerra needs to take a stand on climate, join New York and Massachusetts, and use his office’s considerable resources to aid and support ongoing litigation. His failure to do so will send the wrong message to California, the nation, and the world,” said Janet Cox of Fossil Free California.
"Climate Hawks Vote was the first group to create a petition and the first group to involve a Los Angeles-area member of Congress, following stories in the Los Angeles Times. Xavier Becerra represented part of of Los Angeles in Congress for 24 years, and now acts on behalf of California. AG Becerra needs to step up to protect all Californians from both the ravages of climate change, and from apparent consumer/securities fraud," said RL Miller of Climate Hawks Vote.
“California’s elected officials must do everything in their power to stop Trump’s dishonest and dangerous fossil fuel agenda. That’s why Attorney General Becerra must do the right thing and investigate all that #ExxonKnew. From years-long drought to recent extreme flooding, Californians are bearing the impacts of Exxon’s lies. Yet Big Oil continues to deny its responsibility in causing climate change, exploiting our communities in the name of profit. New York and Massachusetts investigations uncovered disturbing revelations, like Rex Tillerson’s ‘Wayne Tracker’ alias, and helped push Exxon’s deep history of climate deception into the spotlight. AG Becerra joining in would add much-needed power to hold Exxon accountable for potentially the biggest case of corporate fraud in history,” said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve.
“With Exxon Mobil’s Rex Tillerson and other oil darlings in the upper echelons of the federal government, it is crucial that a state with California’s political and economic might take a stand. By launching an investigation, Attorney General Becerra could tip the scales and finally expose the true extent of Exxon Mobil’s lies and abuses. In the 90’s, similar investigations into Big Tobacco ushered in a series of lawsuits that held it liable for its impacts and forever changed how it operated. Big Oil is long overdue for the same fate. It’s time for Attorney General Becerra to take a stand and investigate Exxon. The lives of millions of people and the future of our planet depend on it,” said Tamar Lawrence-Samuel, International Policy Director at Corporate Accountability International.
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