One of the attorneys general behind the Exxon Mobil investigations has shifted the justification for the probes as pressure mounts for the Democrat to explain her role in the crusade.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has months told reporters that Exxon must be held to account for supposedly hiding climate research for decades from the public.
The Democrat is now vacating that position, moving instead to one where the investigations were merely meant to determine whether Exxon acted against the law.
“The goal of this investigation is to get to the bottom of what happened, whether or not it’s true that Exxon knew certain information and made misrepresentations to consumers and investors,” Healey told reporters Monday. “It’s as simple as that.”
The Exxon-crusader’s new justification stands in stark contrast to her previously held position.
“We can all see today the troubling disconnect between what Exxon knew, what industry folks knew, and what the company and industry chose to share with investors and with the American public,” Healey said in March at a press conference attended by former President Al Gore.
Healey’s crusade was 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.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, also launched an investigation into Exxon in November for similar reasons. His investigation has also come under intense scrutiny.
Texas federal judge Ed Kinkeade said in November that Healey was probably 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.
Exxon wants Kinkeade to prohibit Healey from continuing her investigation, arguing the probe violates the company’s First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. It also refutes the idea it violated the law and claims it promotes carbon taxes to fight man-made global warming.
Healey has refused to comply with 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.
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