Texas, Alabama back Exxon in climate change probe

Texas, Alabama back Exxon in climate change probe
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Attorneys general for Texas and Alabama on Monday joined a lawsuit from Exxon Mobil Corp. looking to block a Virgin Islands probe into the company’s climate change research. 

In a statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the investigation is an improper curb on the company’s First Amendment rights. 

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“This case is about abusing the power of the subpoena to force Exxon to turn over many decades’ worth of records, so an attorney general with an agenda can pore over them in hopes of finding something incriminating,” Paxton said in a statement. 

“It’s a fishing expedition of the worst kind, and represents an effort to punish Exxon for daring to hold an opinion on climate change that differs from that of radical environmentalists.”

Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker in April joined a multi-state investigation into Exxon to determine whether it mislead shareholders and consumers about the threat of climate change. 

Walker has subpoenaed information related to the company’s climate research. He has also requested information from past recipients of Exxon donations, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute. 

Exxon has sued to avoid turning over those documents. In a filing on Monday, the states agreed with the Irving, Texas-based oil giant, saying the probe goes against the First Amendment and calling into question the Virgin Islands’s work on the matter with a private law firm. 

“General Walker’s investigation appears to be driven by ideology, and not law, as demonstrated not only by his collusion with [the law firm], but also by his request for almost four decades worth of material from a company with no business operations, employees, or assets in the Virgin Islands,” they wrote.