ExxonMobil calls Healey’s actions ‘indefensible, partisan and unconstitutional’
By Evan Lips | August 29, 2016, 18:30 EST
DALLAS — Calling Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s actions “ indefensible, partisan and unconstitutional,” attorneys representing ExxonMobil have taken to federal court and are seeking a preliminary injunction that would shut down Healey’s investigation into what she alleges is the corporation’s willful ignorance to global warming.
“ExxonMobil does not quarrel with the proposition that fraud finds no refuge in the First Amendment,” the energy giant’s attorneys wrote in their application, filed last week. “ExxonMobil does, however, contest the Attorney General’s belief that the mere invocation of the word ‘fraud’ dispels all First Amendment concerns raised by the CID (civil investigation demand).”
This past spring Healey joined a group of state prosecutors, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermann, and claimed that ExxonMobil has purposely mislead investors regarding the science of climate change. Specifically, Healey’s office subpoenaed ExxonMobil, demanding 40 years’ worth of documents she believes will prove that the company “knew about the risks of climate change decades ago and fraudulently concealed that knowledge from the public.”
Exxon is fighting back, however, having filed a countersuit in Texas federal court, alleging Healey’s probe is a violation of constitutional rights governing free speech and unreasonable search and seizure.
Last Wednesday’s filing in Dallas represents Exxon’s latest move. The corporation in its motion focused on Healey’s use of the word “fraud,” claiming the Bay State’s top prosecutor “must offer more than her say-so that her investigation pertains to fraud and not the suppression of disfavored speech.”
ExxonMobil also took Healey to task over her office’s reference to a 1984 presentation delivered by a scientist working for the company. Healey alleged that the particular scientist “predicted significant increases in global temperature as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels.”
ExxonMobil in its filing disputed Healey’s interpretation.
“What the scientist actually said was, if ‘a number of assumptions’ were valid, there could be a three-degree rise in global temperatures ‘by 2090,’” ExxonMobil’s attorneys pointed out.
“ExxonMobil does not object to the Attorney General’s authority to hold press conferences; it objects to, and is aggrieved by, the improper and unconstitutional bias she exhibited during the extraordinary press conference announcing this investigation,” the filing states.
Read a complete copy here: