Texas Judge Gives Exxon Huge Victory Over Crusading NY AG

REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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ExxonMobil notched a victory Thursday when a Texas judge granted the company access to internal phone records of a New York attorneys general investigating its climate records.

Texas federal judge Ed Kinkeade issued an amendment giving Exxon the legal authority to probe the communications of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The amendment was part of an order allowing the company rake through information gathered by Schneiderman’s colleague, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Kinkeade suspected Healey of acting in “bad faith” when she issued a subpoena to the oil company for 30-years’ worth of documents related to the company’s information about climate change.

Kinkeade also said in September that the investigation has to be “political” because former Vice President Al Gore was involved.

Healey and Schneiderman’s crusade is part of a multi-state effort among liberal attorneys general, lawmakers, and celebrities to probe Exxon for allegedly trying to cover up decades of global warming science.

The investigation is partially the result of a September investigation of Exxon conducted by InsideClimate News. The investigation found Exxon had allegedly played fast and loose with information concerning global warming.

InsideClimate News also alleges that Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, and others joined Exxon in misleading the public about the supposed effects global warming has on sea levels.

Exxon wants Kinkeade to prohibit Healey from continuing her investigation, arguing the probe violates the company’s First Amendment rights under the Constitution. The company also refutes the idea it violated the law and claims it promotes carbon taxes.

The Union of Concerned Scientist (UCS), an environmental group that had been excoriating the company for months, claimed earlier this month that it was roped into litigation between attorneys general and the massive oil company.

The company is requesting UCS’s communication, which the group believes is impossible.

The company’s requests “raises questions about how an [non-governmental organization] like UCS can be dragged into a legal fight between Exxon and the attorney general,” Kimmel told reporters on Nov. 4.

He also said that it would be “very burdensome” for the group to produce such documents if directed to by a court order.

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