Democratic Senators Urge DOJ To Sue Fossil Fuel Industry | Big Horn Basin Media

Democratic Senators Urge DOJ To Sue Fossil Fuel Industry

Written by on August 1, 2023

For decades, the fossil fuel industry has played a major role in the economy of the Cowboy State.  According to a study, in 2019, the industry directly and indirectly supported 68,600 total jobs (28,300 direct and 40,300 indirect) or 16.6 percent of Wyoming’s total employment. The fossil fuel industry has also generated an additional 1.4 jobs elsewhere in Wyoming’s economy for each direct job in the state’s natural gas and oil industry.

But with the Biden Administration’s push to eliminate natural gas and oil production in Wyoming as well as the country, there is now a movement in Congress by four senators to not only punish, but end the fossil fuel industry.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent a letter Monday to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging him to go after  the fossil fuel industry for misleading the country on the “climate change” movement and costing the United States trillions of dollars.

The senators argued in a three-page letter send to the Department of Justice, “The actions of ExxonMobil, Shell and potentially other fossil fuel companies represent a clear violation of federal racketeering laws, truth in advertising laws, consumer protection laws and potentially other laws, and the department must act swiftly to hold them accountable for their unlawful actions.”

The senators’ letter is just another in a long list of lawsuits brought on by more than 40 states and cities that have already filed to hold fossil fuel companies responsible for climate change by directly misleading the public as well as government officials for over half a century.

“The fossil fuel industry has had scientific evidence about the dangers of climate change and the role that burning fossil fuels play in increasing global temperatures for more than 50 years,” the letter states. “As early as 1959, Edward Teller warned the American Petroleum Institute that carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels would raise global temperatures.”

Filed by the State of Minnesota, the lawsuit lays out a case that the fossil fuel industry knowingly and willingly “spent millions on advertising and public relations because they understood that an accurate understanding of climate change would affect their ability to continue to earn profits by conducting business as usual.”

“Big oil was engaged in exactly the same type of behavior that the tobacco companies engaged in and were found liable for fraud on a massive scale … the cover-up, the denial of the problem, the funding of scientists to question the science,” according to Sharon Eubanks, the U.S. lead prosecutor on the tobacco case. “The same pattern. And some of the same lawyers represent both tobacco and big oil.”

The four lawmakers also cite large profits made by the six largest private oil companies — including Exxon, Shell, Chevron and BP — which from 1990 to 2019 made $2.4 trillion.

“These profits have been made off the backs of people all around the world, especially frontline communities across the globe who have suffered and are suffering from the worst repercussions of climate change,” the letter claims.

“Floods, droughts, extreme weather disturbances and wildfires are causing unprecedented damage. Deloitte estimates that unchecked climate change, driven by the fossil fuel industry, could cost the United States $14.5 trillion over the next 50 years.” Deloitte is a conglomerate of independent firms that provides audit and financial advising services to select clients.

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