January 9, 2024

SCOTUS Allows Minnesota Climate Lawsuit to Proceed in State Court


January 8, 2023


SCOTUS Allows Minnesota Climate Lawsuit to Proceed in State Court

Justices Deny Fossil Fuel Industry Petitions to Take Minnesota’s Climate Lawsuit Out of the Hands of Minnesotans


In a big win for the people of Minnesota, the U.S. Supreme Court today allowed Minnesota’s consumer protection lawsuit against three major fossil fuel entities to continue moving forward in state court, denying a request from oil and gas companies to review lower court rulings against them.

Attorney General Keith Ellison sued ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute in state court in 2020 to hold them accountable for lying to Minnesota consumers about the role of fossil fuels in climate change. Earlier this year, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that the case should be heard in state court.

Tee McClenty, Executive Director of the climate justice nonprofit MN350, released the following statement: 

The evidence is clear: big oil companies knew as early as the 1960’s that their product would put people and the planet at risk. Instead of owning up and changing course, they chose to spread disinformation about climate change and set us on course for cataclysmic global warming. It’s past time for them to be held accountable. Minnesotans deserve our day in court. Big oil is scared of their dirty secrets being aired in front of a jury of pragmatic Minnesotans. I have no doubt they will continue to delay and fight against being held accountable, but today’s ruling is great news for climate justice.” 


Background on Minnesota’s Climate Accountability Lawsuit Against Big Oil: 

Like tobacco lawsuits before them, this suit, filed in 2020, seeks to hold companies accountable for decades of deliberate misinformation. Mounting evidence shows that oil companies knew as early as the 1960s that burning the fossil fuels they sell and promote to Minnesotans would create dangerous climate change. In response to this knowledge, oil companies embarked on multi-billion dollar disinformation campaigns, lying to the media, politicians and the public. These lies deliberately delayed action on climate change.

Minnesota has incurred $1.2 billion in annual health and environmental damages due to climate change, according to a report put out by the state, and will need to spend more in the future. AG Ellison’s lawsuit on behalf of the people of Minnesota seeks to hold Exxon, Koch and API accountable for the public health, environmental and financial damages their lies have caused in Minnesota.




MN350 is a statewide climate advocacy group with 30,000 supporters. We work to make Minnesota a national leader in a just transition to a clean energy economy. MN350 Action is its political and advocacy arm. |