SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- California Attorney General Rob Bonta and his offices filed a complaint this week accusing five major oil companies of deceiving the public about fossil fuels and climate change.
"We have seen documentation of internal discussions with fossil fuel big oil leaders talking about the impact on global warming and climate of their industry," Attorney General Bonta said. "As they were acknowledging that privately, they were telling the world something different."
Bonta says he has brought claims of public nuisance, destroying natural resources, deception and falsification against Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and Bay Area's ConocoPhillips and Chevron. He also brought claims against their biggest lobby, the American Petroleum Institute. The lawsuit would force these companies to fund recovery efforts on the state's major weather events. California has seen historic wildfires, extreme drought and record-high temperatures Bonta says was a factor of climate change.
"What we saw was evidence of a decades-long campaign of deception that was damaging and destructive," Bonta said. "It was caused by big oil, who knew this day would happen and these results would happen, and they lied about it, while they profited."
In a statement, the American Petroleum Institute said: "This ongoing, coordinated campaign to wage meritless, politicized lawsuits against a foundational American industry and its workers is nothing more than a distraction from important national conversations and an enormous waste of California taxpayer resources."
Bay Area climate activists said this move from the state is welcomed.
"This industry has been giving with one hand and taking with the other," said Shoshana Wechsler, co-coordinator of the climate advocacy group, The Sunflower Alliance. "We need to move away from fossil fuels today. We can't do it tomorrow. We are already seeing the effects of climate change. As essential as their products are to our daily functioning, they also kill us."
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