Why did crude fall out…
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Exxon has called out a deliberate discrepancy between statements made by several California municipalities and cities in lawsuits against it and more than a dozen other energy companies, and information the same municipalities and cities have put in their bond offerings from the last few years.
The company has asked a California district court for permission to question a number of government officials and an attorney from Hagens Berman, arguing that these individuals have told the court one thing in their lawsuits against Exxon and a completely different thing to prospective bondholders about the effect of the energy industry on the local environment.
For example, Exxon says, in its court filing against energy companies, San Mateo County has stated that it is very vulnerable to rising sea levels with a 93-percent risk of suffering a devastating flood before 2050. At the same time, however, two bond offerings, one from 2014 and one from 2016, say something very different, namely that San Mateo County “is unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur.”
The company went on to name several other plaintiffs, including San Francisco, as making contradictory statements in their lawsuits against the energy companies and in bond offerings, including two San Francisco bond offerings that, says Exxon, do not even contain the phrases “global warming” and “climate change” in them.
Exxon, as well as other companies accused of contributing significantly to environmental damage—and to future risks of disaster in California—have been counter-accusing the plaintiffs of using climate change to attack their political opponents in court.
Exxon reiterated this accusation in its court filing, in which its attorneys said that “It is reasonable to infer that the municipalities brought these lawsuits not because of a bona fide belief in any tortious conduct by the defendants or actual damage to their jurisdictions, but instead to coerce ExxonMobil and others operating in the Texas energy sector to adopt policies aligned with those favored by local politicians in California.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.