LETTER – Sierra Club Calls on Attorney General to Investigate Exxon

Today the Sierra Club is standing with Senator Lesniak in asking the State Attorney General to investigate Exxon Mobil. We believe they should be investigated for deceptive statements and practices in their role in investigating climate change. We also should be looking into their recent settlement and whether they were deception in their information regarding natural resource damages.Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club’s released the following statement:
“If Exxon is willing to mislead its own bond-holders and investors, how truthful have they been with governmental agencies? We believe that the Attorney General must investigate Exxon for its financial practices and deliberate misinformation. If they lied about climate change, what about cleaning up the sites that they own in New Jersey? Given their history of false information, did they do the same thing in New Jersey when it comes to oil and chemical spill and environmental damages. We’re concerned about the Governor’s connections to Exxon. This is why we need an independent investigation to see what’s really going on. We want to thank Senator Lesniak for his continuing work on this important issue.


“Investigations have shown that Exxon has known about climate change since as early as 1977. In 2008 the Sierra Club National had worked with behind-the-scenes Exxon in developing a strategy in dealing with climate change. There were closed-door meetings between Executive Director Carl Pope and David Bookbinder, head of our law department, with senior officials of Exxon. Together they worked on a strategy and plan for climate change including ways to reduce climate impacts such as a Carbon Tax. In 2008, Exxon was not only keenly aware of climate change but at that point, wanting to do something about it. At the time they were publicly climate deniers. This pattern of misleading the public is another reason for the investigation.


“We also believe that Exxon should be investigated for their behavior during the settlement. The DEP accepted $225 million for natural resource damages estimating more than $8.9 billion. We are fighting the Judge’s decision to clean up the mess Exxon made and restore 1500 wetlands, while getting the funding to the communities that have been hurt. The settlement also denied the public right to comment on the 16 additional sites and 800 gas stations added to the case, which also violates the Spill Act. Exxon started here in New Jersey as the standard oil the state. They have a long history with New Jersey and it makes you wonder how much they have covered up or lied about.


“We are going to court to represent the people of New Jersey to block the Exxon Settlement. We filed briefs to overturn the Christie Administration’s sellout of New Jersey’s environment and taxpayers. We will fight to uphold the Public Trust Doctrine and to make sure communities impacted by pollution get cleaned up. We expect to do being doing oral arguments in June or September. We’re going to court against the Exxon settlement to do the job that the State should be doing.


“The Rockefeller Family Fund just announced that they have disinvested in Exxon due to their misleading the public on climate change. New Jersey should follow their lead and divest its pension funds from Exxon and any other fossil fuel carbon companies.Exxon’s own scientists showed that climate change is real and they covered it up. Have they also hidden studies showing what they have done to the environment here in New Jersey with the pollution from their refineries and gas stations? They got away with not having to clean up sites in the state and settling for pennies on the dollar. It was a dirty deal done dirt cheap. They lied about climate change; have they lied or withheld information in the Exxon settlement?”