Feds sue top oil company for allegedly misleading consumers about chemicals

A federal lawsuit has charged Chevron, BP and ConocoPhillips with violating the Clean Water Act by using false advertising to market petroleum products.

The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York, alleges the companies knowingly misled consumers about the environmental and health effects of their products by falsely advertising the chemicals they used to clean up oil spills.

The lawsuit accuses the companies of misleading consumers by marketing “natural” and “eco” petroleum products as safer and cleaner than petroleum-based alternatives, which the plaintiffs say are the result of government regulations.

“Chevron, BP, ConocoPhilips and other corporations that use petroleum-derived chemicals have engaged in a conspiracy to mislead the public about the risks posed by the use of petroleum products,” the complaint said.

“The defendants intentionally marketed products and their effects as ‘natural’ and ‘eco’ because these products are often used as ‘alternative’ alternatives to petroleum-powered vehicles and vehicles powered by natural gas or petroleum-fired power plants,” the lawsuit said.

Chevrons CEO Doug McMillon said the lawsuit “is the first step in an ongoing and robust investigation into this alleged violation of the Clean Air Act and other federal laws, which Chevron has vigorously vigorously disputed.”

“We believe our products are safe, and we will vigorously defend against these claims,” McMillon told reporters in New Orleans.

ConocoPhillipps spokeswoman Lisa Gannadini said the company was not involved in the litigation.BP spokesman Michael Kugler said the allegations were baseless.

“We are aware of the lawsuit, and look forward to vigorously defending the allegations in the court of public opinion,” Kuglers statement said.BP spokeswoman Mary Ellen Harkness said the claims are baseless.

The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuits comes after a recent report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which said the U.N. has documented more than 3,000 oil spills involving chemicals used to remove oil from the ground.

It’s estimated that up to 70 million gallons of petroleum oil spilled in the U,S.

in 2015 alone.