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New York City sues Exxon, BP, Shell in state court over climate change

Credit: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Adds company and API comments, details; recasts first paragraph

April 22 (Reuters) - New York City is suing three major oil companies and the top industry trade group in state court, arguing that the companies are misrepresenting themselves by selling fuels as "cleaner" and advertising themselves as leaders in fighting climate change.

The lawsuit comes after a federal appeals court this month rejected the city's effort to hold five major oil companies liable to help pay the costs of harm caused by global warming.

The lawsuit filed on Thursday said Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N, BP Plc BP.L, Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L and industry group the American Petroleum Institute "have systematically and intentionally misled consumers" through fuel sales at branded stations as "cleaner" and "emissions-reducing" while not disclosing climate impacts.

"These lawsuits have no merit and do nothing to advance meaningful efforts that address climate change," said Exxon spokesman Casey Norton. "We support global efforts from policymakers, companies and individuals to develop real solutions."

The industry provides affordable energy "while substantially reducing emissions and our environmental footprint," said Paul Afonso, API's chief legal officer, adding that the suit is "meritless."

BP declined to comment and Shell did not immediately respond.

"The defendants in our lawsuit have spent millions to persuade consumers that they present a clean, green choice," said New York City Corporation Counsel James Johnson. "But they don't."

Earlier this month, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled in a separate lawsuit in favor of BP, Chevron Corp CVX.N, ConocoPhillips COP.N, Exxon and Shell, and rejected the city's efforts to sue under state nuisance law for damages caused by the companies' "admittedly legal" production and sale of fossil fuels, and said the city's federal common law claims were displaced by the federal Clean Air Act.

That lawsuit, filed in 2018, was an early effort among U.S. states and cities to turn to courts and use state law to address climate change.

(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller Editing by Marguerita Choy)

((Jennifer.Hiller@thomsonreuters.com; +1 281 254 9109;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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