SACRAMENTO, Calif — California Governor Gavin Newsom has brought Big Oil’s deceit into sharp focus on the national stage with his commitment to hold fossil fuel companies responsible for their contribution to the climate crisis. At a critical moment for our climate and public health, Gov. Newsom unveiled a precedent-setting lawsuit to hold oil companies accountable for their climate-damaging emissions and undo the decades of misinformation they have promulgated to continue their dangerous operations. His announcement comes as part of his ongoing commitment to protect Californian families from the health, climate and economic threats posed by Big Oil’s lies. Speaking from the stage at the 15th annual New York Climate Week, Gov. Newsom did not mince words when he called the climate crisis a fossil fuel crisis and pledged to illuminate fossil fuel companies’ deceit. 


Under Gov. Newsom’s leadership, the state of California has sued five of the biggest oil companies in the world, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and the American Petroleum Institute, for spearheading a decades long misinformation campaign that has enabled them to rake in billions at the expense of our environment and public health. Newsom spoke candidly about unmasking the depths of their cover-up and committed to holding Big Oil responsible for the damage that has cost California taxpayers billions of dollars in health and environmental impacts. As the world’s fifth-largest economy, and a national and global leader of progressive climate policies, the scope of the lawsuit has the potential to break the stranglehold that fossil fuel companies have on our future. 


Gov. Newsom also committed to signing into law legislation that will require billion-dollar companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and large companies to report their financial risks stemming from climate change. California’s leadership continues to raise the bar for governments around the world in the fight against climate change. In front of the world’s top political and business leaders gathered for Climate Week NYC, Gov. Newsom sent a clear message: it’s time for transparency, accountability, and climate action.


In response, members of the Last Chance Alliance issued the following quotes:


“This announcement shows that Governor Newsom is prepared to take on Big Oil and continue to hold them accountable for the harm they’ve wrought on public health and the climate. We need his help, now more than ever, as we defend our biggest victory against polluters: the 3200ft health buffers that protect frontline communities and oil workers from fossil fuels’ ongoing harms, like cancer and asthma, that they are experiencing right now.” – Cesar Aguirre, Oil & Gas Director, Central California Environmental Justice Network


“With this historic lawsuit, Gov. Newsom and Attorney General Bonta are providing the climate leadership the world so desperately needs. As the world’s fifth-largest economy, and the nation’s most populous state, California is uniquely positioned to hold Big Oil accountable for its endless lies and malicious blocking of climate action. California’s lawsuit provides major momentum in the race to protect a livable planet. This case opens a new avenue for California to lead the nation in ending deadly fossil fuels.” – Kassie Siegel, Director, Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute


“We’re thrilled to see Governor Newsom utilizing his authority to fight back against the dirtiest and most damaging industry on Earth. Big Oil needs to be held accountable for its lies, the ones that are threatening the very livability of our planet and are making California ground-zero for climate-fueled disasters. Leaders must use every tool in their toolbox to combat the simultaneous crises at hand – the climate crisis and public health crises driven by fossil fuels – and recognize that urgent action is of the utmost importance. We expect Newsom to continue to do everything in his capacity to protect his constituents from the evils of fossil fuels, especially those living nearest to toxic drilling sites.” – Amy Moas, Ph.D., Senior Policy Campaigner at Greenpeace USA


“We should be holding polluters accountable for poisoning our communities and putting our future’s at risk, and we would like to commend our leaders like Governor Newsom for taking this first step. However, this lawsuit will not immediately change or improve the lives of Californians and any payout from it could take years to materialize. Our climate is in serious risk right now: we don’t have time to wait. We must immediately stop the approval of fossil fuel permits and rapidly transition to renewable energy.” — Chirag Bhakta, Food & Water Watch California Director


“With this historic lawsuit, California has given a roadmap to other states to step forward and seek justice for millions of people who have suffered from fossil fuel companies polluting our air, water and soil. Big Oil has been fueling the climate crisis for far too long,” said Dominic Frongillo, Elected Officials to Protect America’s Executive Director and Co-Founder. “Big Oil raked in over $200 billion last year while gas prices skyrocketed. Meanwhile, people suffered from escalating climate disasters and health issues caused by dirty fossil fuels. Elected Officials to Protect America is grateful for Governor Newsom’s important steps towards California leading our nation in keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”


“There’s no doubt this lawsuit is both historic and a win for frontline communities in California and everyone affected from harm perpetrated by Big Oil in our state. It’s past time for our elected officials to hold Big Oil accountable, and we commend the administration for this decision. At the same time, it points to the continued need for Governor Newsom and his administration to simply put an end to the permitting of fossil fuel projects. To protect our children and secure a livable future, we need an actual end to extraction in California,” said Kobi Naseck, Coalition Director, Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods


“Oil executives knew decades ago that their pollution was poisoning people and fueling the climate crisis. Instead of protecting public health and our shared planet, they lied so they could continue raking in profits. Climate deception is not a victimless crime. Floods, wildfires, heat waves, and storms have claimed thousands of lives and cost California billions of dollars. We stand with Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta in holding the architects of the climate emergency responsible for the destruction they cause. We are also grateful to Governor Newsom for pledging to sign SB 253 and SB 261 for corporate climate accountability over the weekend. To that end, we urge the governor to sign AB 1167, the Orphan Well Bonding Requirements Act, and prohibit permits for new oil and gas drilling. These actions will build on California’s commitment to put people before polluters.” – Ellie Cohen, CEO, The Climate Center


“This new lawsuit from Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta holds the fossil fuel industry responsible for their continuous and calculated destruction of our land, air, water, and communities. We are heartened to see the State of California taking steps to protect Californians from the destructive pollution and deceptive tactics of the fossil fuel industry. Now, we call on Governor Newsom to hold himself to the same values and stop signing new oil drilling permits and take action to end the fossil fuel industry’s chokehold on our political system – by restoring the protective provisions of SB 1137, and by supporting Senate Bill 252, to divest our state’s public pensions from fossil fuels.”Miriam Eide, Director, Fossil Free California


“Fossil fuel companies have profited for years at the expense of our climate and health. The mounting evidence linking proximity to these facilities with increased rates of diseases such as asthma, cancer, and reproductive harm underscores the urgency of change. Big Oil has poisoned frontline communities for far too long, but their era of harm is coming to a close. We hope this landmark lawsuit will help push momentum toward ending the public health crisis caused by the oil industry.” – Marjaneh Moini, MD., Member, Physicians for Social Responsibility- Los Angeles


“I’ve been working to bring Exxon to justice for eight years, or one-seventh of the time Exxon has been lying to the public about burning fossil fuels. It’s really gratifying to see Gov. Gavin Newsom and AG Rob Bonta exercise true leadership in bringing Exxon and its co-conspirators to justice.” – RL Miller, political director, Climate Hawks Vote


“As a national organization that works to address and end breast cancer through a health justice lens, we are encouraged by this lawsuit against Big Oil. The production and use of fossil fuels has resulted in devastating environmental catastrophes that have contributed to the increasing number of people living with and are at risk of breast cancer. Big Oil being held accountable is long overdue.” – Haleemah Atobiloye, Program Manager, Breast Cancer Action. 


“Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta’s lawsuit is table stakes in a long-term, coordinated effort to hold the corporate scum that’s killing our people and planet responsible, and we expect the great State of California not to settle for table scraps!” Said Matt Nelson, Executive Director, “This lawsuit is only possible because of the collective resistance in defense of human and environmental rights by California activists and advocates. Latinx and migrant families who form part of our multi-racial and multi-class coalitions are on the front-lines of Big Oil’s destruction, and together, we’ll keep holding the fossil fuel industry and its enablers in government accountable so we can all thrive on a livable planet.”


“This case brings to light what those fighting for environmental justice have known for years: fossil fuel companies have known about their role in the climate crisis for decades, and they continue to keep themselves in business by lying to the public. We hope that this lawsuit is a step toward the end of oil and gas extraction in California and implore the Newsom administration to commit to halting permits for oil and gas drilling in California immediately, particularly within the 3,200 ft setback zone he once championed.” – Maricruz Ramirez, Community Organizer, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment


“Paired with the state’s endorsement of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty earlier this month, this groundbreaking lawsuit is further evidence of the pivotal role California is playing as a leader of climate action in the United States. We need to see more state and local governments demonstrate a willingness to hold Big Oil accountable for the devastating impacts that industry has on the wellbeing of people and the planet. While we commend this bold action, California must follow this lawsuit with concrete policies that protect its residents and the climate from fossil fuels. At a bare minimum, California should stop issuing new fossil fuel permits, divest its massive pensions from fossil fuels, and implement all-electric building codes.” – Nathan Taft, senior digital campaigner for SAFE Cities with