Judge dismisses oil giant ExxonMobil's lawsuit to stop climate change investigations in New York and Massachusetts

Reports show that the company knew about the dangers of climate change for decades

Clark Mindock
New York
Thursday 29 March 2018 22:51 BST
The company is one of the largest oil and gas providers in the world
The company is one of the largest oil and gas providers in the world (ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by oil giant ExxonMobil that sought to end probes being conducted by attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts to determine if the company misled investors and the public on climate change and its potential impact on their business.

The Manhattan judge, Valerie Caproni, said that Exxon's lawyer's argument that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey were pursuing their probes in bad faith is "implausible".

Ms Caproni dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, which means that the oil company will not be able to bring the issue up again.

The states first began their probe following reports in 2015 that the company had determined in the 1970s and 1980s that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to combat global warming effects. The reports contend that the company then proceeded to downplay or ignore those concerns in dealings with the public and their shareholders.

Exxon has denied that their public policies were inconsistent with the findings of their scientists that climate change poses a serious risk.

Ms Healey and Mr Schneiderman have requested that Exxon hand over documents that could help their case, which the oil giant is fighting.

While New York and Massachusetts were the two states involved with the lawsuit in Manhattan, as many as 15 states are involved in investigating the company for potentially misleading people about the dangers of climate change.

The effort was first announced in early 2016, when the attorneys general provided a basic outline of how they would proceed. The officials then signed a private compact with one another not to discuss the probe with anyone not on their teams, unless required to do so by law.

At the time, the states said that they were looking into ways in which they could use federal law to enforce federal greenhouse gas emissions guidelines, and investigate if gas companies were breaking laws to stop the implementation of renewable energy technologies.

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