Yesterday, we officially filed suit against ExxonMobil for its endangerment of communities along the Mystic River. It is the first lawsuit of its kind since revelations last year about the corporation’s decades-long campaign to discredit climate science, and focuses specifically on Exxon’s violations of both the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), laws designed to protect the health and safety of waterfront communities in the face of climate change.
“This lawsuit is based on discredited and inaccurate claims by activists about ExxonMobil’s nearly 40-year history of support for climate research that was conducted publicly. … To suggest that we had reached definitive conclusions, decades before the world’s experts and while climate science was in an early stage of development, is not credible.”
It’s interesting that Exxon framed its response this way, given that our complaint quite literally quotes statements from the company’s own website acknowledging the opposite: that they had in fact acknowledged the real risks of climate change at least as recently as 2000. Referring to Paragraph 146 of our Complaint:
In April 2016, Suzanne McCarron of ExxonMobil wrote that “[t]he risks of climate change are real and those risks warrant constructive action by policymakers, the business community, and everyone who uses energy.” She repeated that sentiment in May 2016, stating that “[a]t ExxonMobil, we believe the risks of climate change are real,” and going on to say that “[a]ll told, since 2000, ExxonMobil has spent approximately $7 billion to develop lower-emission energy solutions.” Most recently, in August 2016, she wrote that “[r]educing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades amounts to one of society’s most important challenges.”
ExxonMobil’s actions also directly contradict its claims to have not yet reached “definitive conclusions” about the risks of climate change. As the Los Angeles Times reported late last year, after its own scientists warned that rising sea-levels brought on by climate change might impact their operations, ExxonMobil went as far as to redesign its natural gas rigs in the North Sea to help fortify them.
The fact that ExxonMobil has known about the ticking time bomb its Everett facility presents and has continued to do nothing to address the dangers demonstrates its propensity to operate solely in its own interests and prioritize its financial bottom line over the safety and well-being of the communities within which it operates.
With our lawsuit we hope to finally hold ExxonMobil accountable for the real-world impacts of its decades-long campaign of deception and for the violations of federal law that continue to put the citizens of New England in harm’s way.