In a win for climate campaigners and Massachusetts’ Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected ExxonMobil’s attempt to block Healey’s demand for documents related to her state’s ongoing investigation into allegations that one of the world’s largest oil and gas corporations deceived the public and investors for decades about how fossil fuels drive global warming.
“Executives at Exxon knew about climate change decades ago, but they chose to lie to the rest of us to line their oily pockets. Now, it’s those who have done the least to cause the problem who are paying the cost of this deception.”
—Thanu Yakupitiyage, 350.org
“The public deserves answers from this company about what it knew about the impacts of burning fossil fuels, and when,” Healey said, responding on Twitter to the ruling. This victory, she added, “clears the way for our office to investigate Exxon’s conduct toward consumers and investors.”
The news, which followed a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling against the company in April, was also welcomed by climate activists—including 350.org U.S. communications manager Thanu Yakupitiyage, who thanked Healey “for her vigilant leadership in standing up for people over polluters.”
“Executives at Exxon knew about climate change decades ago, but they chose to lie to the rest of us to line their oily pockets,” Yakupitiyage declared. “Now, it’s those who have done the least to cause the problem who are paying the cost of this deception through our lives and livelihoods. In 2019, we’ll use all our power to make sure Big Oil pays its fair share for climate destruction.”
Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, celebrated the high court’s decision and said that the company’s failed attempt to block Healey from obtaining internal records indicates concern over what the documents could mean for legal attempts to take the company to court over its alleged climate deception.
“Exxon’s last ditch effort to avoid turning over additional documents to investigators suggests the company has a whole lot more it’s still hiding from the public, shareholders, and policymakers.”
—Richard Wiles, Center for Climate Integrity
“Exxon’s last ditch effort to avoid turning over additional documents to investigators suggests the company has a whole lot more it’s still hiding from the public, shareholders, and policymakers,” he noted.
Wiles also posited that “Exxon fears nothing more than the truth these documents will reveal: that they have known for 50 years that their products cause climate change, and ran a massive deception campaign to confuse the public about it, consequences be damned.”
Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, said in response to the ruling on Monday, “This is an important moment.”
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