By Kirsten Fedorowicz
Volunteer with MN350’s Communications Team

On June 24, 2020, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison sued ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute on the grounds that they deceived and defrauded Minnesotans about climate change.

Minnesota is one of five other states, several cities, and one island (Maui, the second-largest Hawaiian Island), that have sued the oil giants on similar grounds this year.

These oil giants knew that climate change was a possibility as far back as the sixties and seventies, as illustrated in recently publicized letters and reports. Rather than go public with the evidence their scientists found, Exxon and Koch launched a disinformation campaign. This campaign was designed to keep individuals and governments consuming their products at an enormous cost to the planet’s future. These corporate polluters are the main reason some people still don’t “believe” in climate change. They’re also responsible for the misperception, even for those who do believe in it, that climate change can be solved solely through personal responsibility. ExxonMobile, Koch, and API have, for decades, successfully swerved the accountability they have for causing climate change.

During their smear campaign, these corporate polluters made an exorbitant amount of money. ExxonMobile alone made approximately $775 billion in profits. Meanwhile, the lawsuit alleges that Minnesota experienced “billions of dollars of economic harm due to climate change since Defendants began their deceptive campaign, and, without serious mitigation, will continue to suffer billions of dollars of damage through midcentury.”

The lawsuit’s goal is to get ExxonMobile, Koch, and API to pay for the expensive climate adaptations the state of Minnesota will need to make. Instead of raising taxes to pay for improvements on buildings, roads, and other infrastructure to withstand increased flooding, storms, and hotter temperatures, the state could use the money paid to it from corporate polluters. Minnesotans did not cause climate change and they should not have to pay for it; ExxonMobile, Koch, and API should.

Want to get involved? MN350 has a Communications team directly working on this issue. We’re looking to get the word out about the lawsuit with op-eds; if you know anyone with a law or public health background who would be willing to sign on to an opinion editorial, contact Ella Johnson (

Kirsten Fedorowicz is a recent Michigan-to-Minnesota transplant. She lives in St. Paul and stops to read every sidewalk poem she finds. She is a MN350 Communications Team Volunteer.