City Becomes the First State Capital and 25th U.S. Community to Take Big Oil Companies to Court for Lying About Their Role in Climate Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 23, 2021

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The City of Annapolis last night filed a lawsuit seeking to hold major oil and gas companies accountable for lying to the public about their products’ role in climate change and to recover costs associated with sea-level rise, flooding, and other local climate damages that the companies knew their products would cause. 

Annapolis joins 24 other states and localities, including the City of Baltimore, that have turned to the courts to hold companies like Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and BP accountable for ongoing efforts to lie to the public about their role in causing climate change. It is also the fourth community — after Minnesota, Delaware, and Hoboken, New Jersey — to name the American Petroleum Institute as a defendant. 

Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, released the following statement: 

“Big Oil knew their products would cause catastrophic climate damages decades ago. Instead of doing the right thing, they continued to lie about it while communities like Annapolis are paying the price. The city’s leaders should be applauded for working to ensure that their residents aren’t stuck with the bill to protect themselves from a problem that Big Oil knowingly caused. 

Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, released the following statement: 

“With this lawsuit, Annapolis joins a growing number of communities across the United States that are turning to the courts to demand that Big Oil companies be held accountable for lying about their leading role in causing climate change. Just like Big Tobacco — another industry that lied to the public to protect their profits — Big Oil should pay for the damage they knew their products would cause.” 


Background on Climate Liability Cases:

Since 2017, 25 communities, including the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island; the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen city and county governments in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Washington have brought lawsuits under different claims to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for deceiving the public about climate change. Learn about those cases here.


The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For nearly 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.


The Center for Climate Integrity, a project of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, launched in 2017 to educate the public and policymakers about the massive costs of coping with the damage attributable to global warming and to support efforts to make climate polluters pay their fair share.

For more information on what ExxonMobil and others in the industry knew about climate change and when, check out the Center for Climate Integrity’s “Smoking Guns” document archive or visit

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