ExxonMobil Likely Forced To Produce Climate Change Documents After Supreme Court Refusal

The case is important because it could set legal precedent allowing similar moves against other energy companies.

 

July 7, 2019

 

In what appears to be blow to ExxonMobil, the US Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear arguments from the company against demands by the attorney general of Massachusetts for decades of company documents related to what the company has done about climate change.

Irving-based Exxon wanted the high court to stop Democratic AG Maura Healey from forcing the company to produce the documents.

Healey’s investigation was launched in 2016, and is part of a broader move by Democrats and environmentalists to prove ExxonMobil attempted to publicly show doubt about climate change while being internally aware of the true extent of the threat.

Exxon Mobil has denied the AG’s claims.

The case is important because it could set legal precedent allowing similar moves against other energy companies.

Exxon asked the Supreme Court to hear arguments after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled against the company in April.

As is it’s usual practice, the Supreme Court on Monday didn’t comment on why it refused to take up the case.

And as the Boston Herald pointed out, the refusal means the investigation of Exxon will move forward, with Exxon fulfilling the document demand.

As The Hill notes, four of the court’s nine judges would have had to vote in favor of taking the case for it to be put in the docket.

AG Healey says her office wants to know whether the company lied to the public or investors about what it has known since the 1960s about the seriousness of climate change and the role played by its fossil fuel products — and how policies related to climate change might affect the sale of the company’s products.

Exxon said the investigation is politically motivated, an opinion joined by Dallas U.S. District Court judge Ed Kinkeadehas.

Healey took up the case from Massachusetts AG Eric Schniederman after Schneiderman stepped down from the office in a sex scandal.