Exxon Loses Court Fight to Block Investigation Into Climate Statements
A federal judge in New York on Friday dismissed a case launched by Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) seeking to block investigations by the states of New York and Massachusetts into the company’s research and public statements on the veracity of climate change.
The investigations were started in 2015 when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed documents from the company to determine if Exxon’s public statements about climate risk were, in fact, consistent with the company’s own research.
Exxon filed the lawsuit in Texas in 2016 claiming the investigation was politically motivated and violated Exxon’s constitutional rights. The judge in the case ruled last year that he had no jurisdiction over the issue and forwarded the proceedings to New York.
According to a report in The New York Times, Judge Valerie E. Caproni wrote that Exxon’s suit was “running roughshod over the adage that the best defense is a good offense.” Further, Exxon’s suit was an effort to kill “duly authorized investigations” was based on “extremely thin allegations and speculative inferences.” She also wrote:
Exxon’s allegations that the [attorneys general] are pursuing bad faith investigations in order to violate Exxon’s constitutional rights are implausible and therefore must be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
An Exxon spokesman said the company is reviewing the decision and evaluating its next steps.
The company recently has admitted that it believes the risk of climate change is real and that it wants to be “part of the solution.” For years, however, Exxon paid for research claiming that climate science was much arguable when the company’s own research indicated the opposite.
The dismissal comes just ahead of a reported move by the Trump administration to relax the emissions and mileage requirements that automakers agreed to in 2012 with the Obama administration.