For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Mike Meno, Center for Climate Integrity, mike@climateintegrity.org

Biden’s A.G. Pick Must Hold Polluters Accountable: Center for Climate Integrity Statement

WASHINGTON - President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Merrick Garland to be the next U.S. Attorney General, multiple news outlets reported today. Garland would lead a department that Biden has pledged will play a key role in his administration’s climate agenda. 

In a climate plan released earlier this year, Biden pledged to create a new Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the Department of Justice and instruct his Attorney General to “strategically support ongoing plaintiff-driven climate litigation against polluters,” a reference to lawsuits from more than 20 U.S. states and localities that seek to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for deceiving the public about its role in climate change. 

Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, released the following statement: 

“As we face an accelerating climate crisis and growing calls for accountability, the next attorney general must fight for people over polluters and ensure that no industry, company, or executive is above the law. 

“For years, leading fossil fuel companies lied to the American people about their role in the climate crisis, even while they protected their own assets, and the public has paid dearly.  The Justice Department must do everything in its power to investigate and hold these climate polluters accountable for their deception. 

“As the leader of a new DOJ dedicated to environmental and climate justice, Attorney General-nominee Garland must fulfill the president-elect’s pledges to support litigation by states and municipalities against the polluters who caused the climate crisis.”

Background: 

Since 2017, 24 communities, including the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island; the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen city and county governments in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Washington have brought lawsuits under different claims to recover billions of dollars in damages caused by the oil and gas industry’s deception about climate change. Learn about those cases here.

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The Center for Climate Integrity, a project of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, directs Pay Up Climate Polluters. CCI and its partners in law, science and advocacy work to make Big Oil and Gas pay their fair share of the damages their products helped cause.

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