Exxon Mobil is under investigations by the federal authorities due to an alleged non-disclosure of its climate change research containing environmental risks. A recent judiciary decision ordered the company to hand over 40 years of research on the impact of fossil fuels on climate change.
Attorney General Maura Healey filed a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) to collect the said documents from Exxon Mobil, which the court later on favored. With the decision, the government and the public will finally discover what the company knew and whether or not they have been hiding the truth.
Superior Court Judge Heidi E. Brieger from Massachusetts issued a 14-page order favoring the state law that grants the government to investigate if the company lied and mislead the public about the risks of fossil fuels and its contribution to climate change.
The order requires Exxon Mobil to disclose 40-years' worth of studies and research. Environmentalists argue that the company is already aware of the risks posed by fossil fuels, but they concealed the information to continue running the business and at the same time misleading the public.
Exxon Refuses To Submit To The Attorney General's Request
The company filed a motion to set aside the CID filed by Healey. In the company's defense, they accused Healey of being biased for pressing an investigation. However, the judge backed up the attorney general's petition.
"Exxon also argues that the CID is politically motivated...As discussed above, however, the court finds that the attorney general has assayed sufficient grounds - her concerns about Exxon's possible misinterpretation to Massachusetts consumers - upon which to issue the CID," Judge Heidi E. Brieger said in the order. "In light of these concerns, the court concludes that Exxon has not met its burden of showing that the attorney general is acting arbitrarily or capriciously toward it."
Exxon Mobil is required to hand over the documents to Healey based on the order released last Wednesday, Jan. 11. LA Times previously reported that the company has already been doing climate change research since the 1980s and 1990s.
An Exxon spokesperson said in an interview that the company is already "reviewing the decision to determine next steps."
Last March, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ordered Exxon to uphold shareholders' vote and to outline its anti-climate change strategy. Exxon had already received a subpoena filed by the U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Earl Walker. Sadly, Exxon is not the only company who knew about climate change since the early 1970s, a report claims.
Former Chief Rex Tillerson
The timely decision was issued when the former Exxon chief executive Rex Tillerson faced a Senate hearing to confirm his nomination as President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state. During the hearing, he was asked about climate change but refused to divulge information about the company's knowledge on the issue.