By Karen Savage
Exxon continues to try to shake probes by two state attorneys general into possible climate fraud by the company.
The oil giant filed notice on Friday that it will appeal the decision by a federal judge to dismiss its suit against Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Exxon filed the lawsuit shortly after Healey and Schneiderman opened investigations into possible climate change-related deception by the company. The company alleges that the inquiries are an abuse of the AG’s political positions and violate the oil giant’s First, Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights. It says the investigations are part of a conspiracy to “silence and intimidate one side of the public policy debate on how to address climate change.”
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed the case, calling Exxon’s allegations that the investigations are politically motivated a “wild stretch of logic.” The case had initially been filed in Texas, but was later transferred to New York.
Caproni also brushed off the oil giant’s allegations that it is being unfairly targeted because of its views on climate change.
“Exxon has not plausibly alleged that either attorney general is proceeding in bad faith, motivated by a desire to impinge on Exxon’s constitutional rights,” said Caproni in her order to dismiss.
Exxon filed a separate petition against Healey in Massachusetts, claiming her investigation was politically motivated and alleging she lacked jurisdiction over the company.
That petition was dismissed by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Heidi E. Brieger in January 2017, a decision that was upheld earlier this month by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Healey and Schneiderman did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but neither are likely to back down.
In a statement released after Caproni’s ruling, Schneiderman called Exxon’s strategy “a type of legal jiu-jitsu that resulted in nothing more than a huge waste of time and money”.
“At every turn in our investigation, Exxon has tried to distract and deflect from the facts at hand. But we will not be deterred: our securities fraud investigation into Exxon continues,” said Schneiderman.