Becerra must hold ExxonMobil accountable – Orange County Register

In fulfilling his role as California attorney general, Xavier Becerra should be focusing on the issues that affect state residents and one of those issues that poses great threat to residents is climate change.

While the effects of our warming planet will affect all Californians, climate change poses the most pressing threat to low-income and communities of color. It’s why it’s so critical that Becerra holds corporations like ExxonMobil accountable for knowingly deceiving the public about the threat of climate change.

Becerra has vowed to oppose any expansion of drilling off California’s coast, he’s suing the Trump administration for pausing energy efficiency standards, but in the investigation into Exxon’s deception he is notably absent.

Low-income and communities of color in California are already facing some of the ramifications from climate change. Nearly half of the country’s Latino population lives in areas with the worst air pollution and 71 percent of African Americans live in counties that are in violation of federal air pollution standards.

The California Department of Public Health finds that at least 140 people died during a two-week heat wave in 2006 and many of those deaths occurred in historically low-income California regions where many did not have air conditioning.

Not only that, the California Energy Commission projects that by 2050, our state will experience up to 53 extreme heat days per year. As the largest agricultural industry in the country, that could have a major effect on California farmers and their crops, not to mention the workers employed in California’s agricultural industry. The bottom line is, plenty of people will suffer in our state because of climate change.

Just as states held the tobacco industry accountable after it was revealed to be misleading the public about the health threat of its products, so should Becerra hold Exxon accountable for knowing how its burning of fossil fuel would affect our planet and the public.

Exxon posted $4 billion in profits in its first quarter. Meanwhile, people all over our state and all over the country are living with the consequences of the company’s greed: air pollution that threatens our children’s health and contributes to asthma, rising sea level that threatens to make coastal communities unlivable, and extreme weather that threatens our bustling agriculture industry.

Not only did the oil giant know that this is what the future would look like if it…

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