AG Healey Scores Another Victory In Push To Investigate ExxonMobil

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BOSTON — Massachusetts’s highest court has sided with Attorney General Maura Healey in her bid to force ExxonMobil to produce and turn over documents her office maintains will show that the energy giant was aware about carbon emissions and their effect on the earth’s climate since at least 1976.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Friday dismissed Exxon’s appeal after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Heidi E. Brieger in January 2017 ruled in favor of Healey. Brieger, a 2012 appointee of then-Governor Deval Patrick, had previously spent 20 years working as a federal prosecutor.

Healey’s legal strategy revolved largely around convincing Brieger, and then the state’s top court, that the Exxon matter involved state consumer protection laws. Exxon had argued that the Texas-based company was not subject to Massachusetts jurisdiction, cited evidence it claimed showed Healey’s bias, and pushed for Brieger to hold off on ruling on the case until after the company’s challenge in federal court was adjudicated.

Exxon, however, was unable to sway Brieger.

“Exxon’s scorched earth campaign to block our investigation was entirely rejected by the courts once again,” Healey said in a statement posted to her Twitter account Friday. “Now Exxon must come forward with the truth:  what it knew about climate change and when.”

Healey added that the ruling “affirms that Exxon is subject to our laws, and that we have the authority to investigate.

“The people of Massachusetts — and people everywhere — deserve answers.”

Exxon had appealed Brieger’s decision but the matter never went to to the state’s appellate court because the Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative requested the case transfer.

“The Attorney General’s investigation concerns climate change caused by manmade greenhouse gas emissions — a distinctly modern threat that grows more serious with time, and the effects of which are already being felt in Massachusetts,” Justice Elspeth Cypher, an appointee nominated to the bench by Governor Charlie Baker, wrote in the final ruling. “More particularly, the investigation is premised on the Attorney General’s belief that Exxon may have misled Massachusetts residents about the impact of fossil fuels on both the Earth’s climate and the value of the company.”

Read the ruling:

  Sjc12376 Exxon Mobil Corporation vs Attorney General.pdf by Evan on Scribd