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Judge Deals Exxon Blow In Climate Cover-Up Case

Oil barrels

A federal judge has put an end to Exxon’s attempt to sue the district attorneys of New York and Massachusetts for investigating the company with relation to its alleged cover-up of its knowledge of climate change and the effects its business had on the environment.

Manhattan judge Valerie Caproni dismissed as “implausible” Exxon’s argument that New York’s DA Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts’ Maura Healey were on a political quest against the company, seeking to violate its constitutional rights.

The dismissal of the case was made with prejudice, meaning Exxon cannot bring it again, Reuters reports.

Exxon is being sued by employees and shareholders on allegations of knowing about the effects of the oil industry on climate change for decades but deliberately withholding the information from the public and from shareholders.

It is also being sued by several municipalities in California that argue its activities in the state have had a harmful impact on the environment. They are seeking billions in compensation from Exxon and a number of other oil supermajors.

Exxon struck back at those, too. In January, the company 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.

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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.”

As regards its next steps in the New York and Massachusetts case, Exxon’s spokesman Scott Silvestri told Reuters the company was evaluating its options.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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