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Judge: Exxon can't stop climate change probes

ExxonMobil won't be able to stop state investigations into whether it misled investors and the public about its knowl...

Posted: Mar 30, 2018 10:57 AM
Updated: Mar 30, 2018 10:57 AM

ExxonMobil won't be able to stop state investigations into whether it misled investors and the public about its knowledge of climate change.

A federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday dismissed Exxon's lawsuit claiming officials in New York and Massachusetts were pursuing bad faith investigations in violation of the oil giant's constitutional rights.

US District Judge Valerie Caproni called Exxon's position "implausible."

"Exxon has asked two federal courts-first in Texas, now in New York-to stop state officials from conducting duly-authorized investigations into potential fraud," she wrote. "It has done so on the basis of extremely thin allegations and speculative inferences."

Exxon maintained in the lawsuit that the attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts worked behind the scenes with environmental groups, who were attempting to promote litigation against fossil fuel companies. It also said the state officials tried to squash Exxon's right to free speech and dissenting opinions on climate change.

Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the ruling.

In a statement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who opened an investigation into Exxon's historical knowledge of climate change in 2015, praised the decision.

He said the lawsuit "wrongfully attempted to thwart a serious state law enforcement investigation into the company."

Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey are investigating whether Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, misled investors and the public about its knowledge of climate change and the potential effects that climate change may have on its business.

Harvard study: Exxon 'misled the public' on climate change for nearly 40 years

The attorneys general are looking into whether Exxon's past securities filings were misleading because they failed to disclose the company's internal projections regarding the potential costs of climate change and expected environmental regulations.

Exxon filed a lawsuit against the New York and Massachusetts officials in 2016, claiming the probes were part of a conspiracy to "silence and intimidate one side of the public policy debate on how to address climate change."

Exxon is also facing lawsuits from San Francisco, Oakland and other municipalities in California, which have demanded the company and its rivals pay billions of dollars to cover damage from looming sea level rise due to climate change.

Exxon gives up major climate change fight

Exxon argues that the California cities and counties have contradicted themselves by admitting in bond sales that climate change risks are unpredictable.

Federal law requires companies and governments to reveal risks to investors before selling securities like stock or muni bonds.

And in late 2017, after years of resisting, ExxonMobil agreed to reveal the risks it faces from climate change and the global crackdown on carbon emissions.

Exxon said the disclosures will include how the company is positioning for a lower-carbon future and how its business could be hurt by shifting energy demands.

--CNN's Jackie Wattles and Matt Egan contributed to this report

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 485655

Reported Deaths: 6558
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1007641586
Ramsey43106801
Dakota36297390
Anoka33293385
Washington22078256
Stearns18734201
St. Louis14805262
Scott13290107
Wright12526115
Olmsted1178988
Sherburne872872
Carver772640
Clay691587
Rice670491
Blue Earth594735
Kandiyohi579574
Crow Wing520681
Chisago499045
Otter Tail482170
Benton446490
Winona418349
Mower404731
Douglas392668
Nobles387047
Goodhue385768
Polk343162
McLeod339349
Beltrami337951
Morrison324547
Itasca313046
Lyon313044
Becker311342
Isanti306154
Steele300411
Carlton300149
Pine282016
Freeborn280723
Nicollet258641
Todd248030
Brown245037
Le Sueur235320
Mille Lacs227447
Cass220024
Waseca208717
Meeker207434
Martin189528
Wabasha18653
Roseau180217
Hubbard160640
Houston157314
Dodge15224
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Redwood147027
Fillmore13728
Chippewa136335
Cottonwood134820
Pennington134416
Wadena130920
Faribault123017
Aitkin118833
Sibley117310
Watonwan11738
Rock115714
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Murray9448
Jackson93510
Swift87918
Pope8045
Marshall77815
Stevens7418
Lake74018
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68416
Wilkin67110
Koochiching61811
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5062
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned46768
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3055
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Cook1180

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Cases: 362827

Reported Deaths: 5440
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58260551
Linn20670313
Scott18318210
Black Hawk16258292
Woodbury14979211
Johnson1384874
Dubuque13562194
Dallas1138690
Pottawattamie10791143
Story1024945
Warren556674
Clinton543784
Cerro Gordo533782
Webster519587
Marshall497272
Sioux494869
Buena Vista474537
Des Moines458861
Muscatine452291
Wapello4345108
Jasper417766
Plymouth395378
Lee375452
Marion359169
Jones294154
Henry293337
Carroll286249
Bremer280854
Crawford275135
Boone259730
Washington254347
Benton253854
Mahaska224746
Jackson221638
Dickinson217840
Tama213765
Kossuth208555
Clay193625
Hamilton192142
Delaware189140
Winneshiek189127
Buchanan185729
Fayette185235
Page183319
Hardin181439
Wright179931
Harrison179469
Cedar178523
Clayton168154
Butler167231
Mills163020
Floyd162741
Cherokee154836
Madison154718
Poweshiek154330
Hancock147130
Allamakee146747
Lyon145941
Iowa145023
Appanoose139247
Grundy139230
Jefferson138734
Winnebago138631
Cass134751
Calhoun133811
Mitchell130940
Louisa128241
Union126631
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Sac124618
Emmet121740
Shelby121733
Franklin118319
Humboldt117925
Guthrie116628
Palo Alto105221
Montgomery104136
Howard102921
Clarke100420
Unassigned9900
Keokuk98229
Monroe93328
Adair92128
Ida91432
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Davis83123
Monona81627
Greene77510
Lucas74021
Osceola70615
Worth6997
Taylor66612
Fremont5909
Decatur5829
Van Buren56118
Ringgold52320
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Adams3274
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