Jan 7, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Supreme Court sides against Exxon in climate case

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected ExxonMobil's bid to review the Massachusetts attorney general's demand for internal documents about what the company knew about climate change over the course of decades.

Why it matters: The order, issued without comment, enables Attorney General Maura Healey to continue probing whether the oil giant misled investors and consumers about global warming and its effects on Exxon's business.

The big picture: The case is part of a broader legal effort by some Democratic state officials and investigative journalists to explore the oil industry's internal consideration of climate change.

  • New York's AG sued the company in October, alleging Exxon defrauded shareholders by downplaying the expected risk of future climate change policies on its business and assets.

What they're saying: "Today’s #SCOTUS victory clears the way for our office to investigate Exxon’s conduct toward consumers and investors. The public deserves answers from this company about what it knew about the impacts of burning fossil fuels, and when," Healey tweeted.

The other side: Exxon did not comment Monday on the Supreme Court's decision.

  • In the now-rejected petition, Exxon said the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's ruling last April that upheld the probe was a "breathtaking assertion of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant."
  • The company has called the New York lawsuit "baseless allegations" based on "closed-door lobbying by special interests" and "political opportunism."

Go deeper: New York makes its move against Exxon

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