The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mike Meno,,

Supreme Court Asks Solicitor General for Views on Honolulu Climate Deception Lawsuit

Oil Companies Want the Court to Overturn a Hawai`i Supreme Court Ruling that Allowed Honolulu’s Historic Climate Deception Lawsuit to Advance to Trial

The U.S. Supreme Court today asked the U.S. Solicitor General to file a brief “expressing the views of the United States” in response to Big Oil companies’ requests to review a Hawai`i Supreme Court decision that allowed Honolulu’s historic climate deception lawsuit against the companies to proceed to trial.

City and County of Honolulu v. Sunoco et al. seeks to make major oil and gas companies — including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP — pay for the costs of local climate damages caused by the companies’ decades-long campaign of deception and disinformation about the dangers of their fossil fuel products. In its ruling, the Hawai`i Supreme Court found that the federal Clean Air Act does not preempt state law claims to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their deceptive conduct.

In recent months, the fossil fuel industry and its backers ran a widespread media campaign in an attempt to influence the court to take the case.

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

“Big Oil companies are fighting desperately to avoid trial in lawsuits like Honolulu’s, which would expose the evidence of the fossil fuel industry’s climate lies for the entire world to see. Communities everywhere are paying dearly for the massive damages caused by Big Oil’s decades-long climate deception. The people of Honolulu and other communities across the country deserve their day in court to hold these companies accountable.”

Alyssa Johl, vice president of legal and general counsel for the Center for Climate Integrity, released the following statement:

“Lawsuits like Honolulu’s are not seeking to solve climate change or regulate emissions — these plaintiffs simply want Big Oil to stop lying and pay their fair share of the damages they knowingly caused. The Solicitor General should make clear that federal laws do not preempt the ability of communities to hold companies accountable for their deceptive claims under state law.”

Background on State and Local Climate Accountability Lawsuits Against Big Oil

The attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, as well as dozens of municipal governments in California, Colorado, Hawai`i, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico, and two tribal governments, have filed lawsuits to hold major oil and gas companies accountable for deceiving the public about their products’ role in climate change.

The Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) helps cities and states across the country hold corporate polluters accountable for the massive impacts of climate change.

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