One of the attorneys general targeting ExxonMobil’s climate change research is “vigorously opposing” a judge’s order demanding she explain the nature of her investigation.
Massachusetts AG Maura Healey said she will not comply with U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade’s order to hash out specifics about her investigation into whether the oil company knowingly shelved research showing the effects fossil fuels have on the climate.
“Legally, we believe we’re on strong legal ground, not only with respect to the questions that we’ve asked but also with respect to the position that this court has no jurisdiction over us — meaning, in simple terms, what the court has done is inappropriate,” Healey told reporters Monday.
Healey went on to say that she has “no plans” to comply with the court order. “We’ll take it up on appeal,” she added.
The Massachusetts Democrat’s crusade is part of a multi-state effort among liberal attorneys general and lawmakers to probe Exxon for allegedly trying to cover up decades of global warming science.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also launched an investigation into Exxon in November for similar reasons. He is widely perceived as the AG spearheading the entire investigation.
Schneiderman hosted a conference in March with other AGs, which included Healey, when it was announced that more prosecutors would probe Exxon and fight back against Republican attacks on federal environmental regulations.
Exxon accused Healey and Schneiderman of taking politically motivated actions intended to force the company into complying with their preferred policies on climate change.
“The investigations launched by Attorneys General Schneiderman and Healey amount to nothing more than an unlawful exercise of government power to further political objectives,” Exxon’s attorneys wrote Nov. 11. “The shifting justifications they have presented for their investigations are pretexts that have become more and more transparent over time.”
Kinkeade accused Healey in October of acting in “bad faith” when she issued a subpoena against the oil company for 30 years worth of documents related to the company’s information about climate change.
“The foregoing allegations about Attorney General Healey, if true, may constitute bad faith in issuing the CID … ,” reads a statement from the court.
The investigation is partially the result of a September investigation of Exxon conducted by InsideClimate News, which allegedly found that Exxon 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 on sea levels.
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