Massachusetts judge requires Exxon to hand over climate documents

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By Scott Malone | BOSTON

BOSTON A Massachusetts judge has refused a
request by Exxon Mobil Corp to excuse it from a request
by the state’s attorney general to hand over decades worth of
documents on its views on climate change, state officials said
on Wednesday.

The decision by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Heidi
Brieger denying Exxon’s request for an order exempting it from
handing over the documents represents a legal victory for state
Attorney General Maura Healey, who is investigating the world’s
largest publicly traded oil company’s climate policies.

“This order affirms our longstanding authority to
investigate fraud,” Healey said on Twitter following the
decision, adding that the company “must come clean about what it
knew about climate change.”

An Exxon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request
for comment.

Healey was one of two state prosecutors, the other being her
counterpart in New York, investigating whether Exxon knowingly
misled its shareholders and the public as to what it knew about
climate change.

The investigations follow separate reports by online news
publication Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times
showing that Exxon worked to play down the risks of climate
change despite its own scientists’ having raised concerns about
it decades earlier.

The news came on the day former Exxon Chief Executive Rex
Tillerson faced a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his
nomination to serve as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary
of state.

When asked during the hearing if he believed that human
activity was contributing to climate change, Tillerson did not
answer yes or no, but said, “The increase in greenhouse gas
concentrations in the atmosphere are having an effect. Our
abilities to predict that effect are very limited.”



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