Feds refer Exxon climate claims to FBI

The decision about whether to investigate ExxonMobil Corporation’s advocacy on climate change is now in the FBI’s hands.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), which received multiple requests to probe Exxon for potential legal action, has sent the case to the FBI for its consideration, it told a pair of Democratic lawmakers.

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“As a courtesy, we have forwarded your correspondence to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” DOJ wrote to Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), who asked for the probe.

“The FBI is the investigative arm of the department, upon which we rely to conduct the initial fact finding in federal cases. The FBI will determine whether an investigation is warranted,” Peter Kadzik, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, wrote.

DOJ sent the letter in January, but the lawmakers only released it this week. InsideClimate News first reported on the letter.

The development still means Democrats and activists are far from their goal of getting Exxon investigated and potentially punished for its actions on climate change.

Reports last year from InsideClimate and the Los Angeles Times found Exxon’s own research as early as the 1970s found that climate change was a problem and caused by fossil fuel consumption.

But the company later sought to sow doubt about climate change science in an effort to stop potential policies that would hurt its bottom line, the reports found.

Exxon has repeatedly denied the allegations and said it has been at the forefront of scientific research into climate change.

The attorneys general of New York and California are investigating Exxon’s climate actions using laws specific to those states.