Obama-Appointed Judge Dismisses Exxon Attempt To Block Climate Probe

REUTERS/Mike Stone

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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A New York judge dismissed Tuesday a lawsuit from ExxonMobil seeking to block what some analysts believe is a politically biased investigation targeting the oil company’s climate research.

U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni put an end to a lawsuit filed by Exxon attorneys in Texas last year that argued an attorney general-led climate probe is politically motivated. Her decision is mostly procedural, and allows the case to be reset after being transferred from Texas.

Caproni set an April 12 deadline for the oil company to refile briefs. The case was remanded from Texas to New York, because the bulk of the events in the lawsuit occurred in New York. Caproni, a judge appointed by former President Barack Obama, did not address the merits of Exxon’s motion suggesting the law enforcers climate-tinged pursuits are a ploy to gain media attention.

In Texas, Judge Ed Kinkeade has brushed back the two attorneys general behind the climate probe in the Texas case, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey. Kinkeade, a Republican appointed to the bench in 2002 by George W. Bush, appeared to side with much of Exxon’s position.

Kinkeade peppered lawyers for the two Democrats with questions that implied their lengthy crusade is a politically motivated move to garner media attention. He also said the attorneys general’s use of anti-Exxon reports to justify the probes was problematic, considering the partisan nature of the outlets.

The initial probes were based on reports by the liberal-leaning media outlet InsideClimate News and Columbia University that Exxon knew the risks of global warming for decades, but kept the knowledge under wraps. The investigation ushered in a slew of inquiries from other attorneys general, but the bulk of them have since dropped their pursuits. Some apparently bailed on the campaign out of concern Schneiderman was pushing an agenda.

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