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Exxon appeals Massachusetts climate case to Supreme Court
Exxon Mobil Corp. is asking the Supreme Court to block Massachusetts's attorney general from demanding certain information in an investigation over climate change.
The nation's largest oil company says that state Attorney General Maura Healey's (D) wide-ranging demand for documents violates the "due process" clause of the Constitution's 14th Amendment, since Exxon is headquartered outside of Massachusetts.
It's an appeal of an April ruling by Massachusetts's highest court, which said that the company had to comply with Healey's civil investigative demand, akin to a subpoena.
"In the decision under review, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court compelled compliance with sweeping investigatory requests by the state's attorney general for decades' worth of documents concerning petitioner's knowledge of, and the relationship of petitioner's products to, climate change," the company wrote to the nation's highest court.
"It justified that exercise of judicial power based principally on advertisements, despite the attorney general's admission that the ads at issue did not speak to the subject matter of the investigation and even though the corporation did not even create or approve the vast majority of the ads."
Healey launched the probe in 2016, after InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times published reports saying that Exxon knew about the dangers of climate change but denied it publicly.
Exxon has both denied the allegations and fought Healey's demands at every turn, saying that merely licensing fuel stations in the Bay State does not subject it to her jurisdiction.
Last month, the federal Securities and Exchange Commission closed its own investigation into whether Exxon's accounting and disclosures related to future climate impacts was compliant. The agency did not take any action against Exxon.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood (D) is undertaking a similar investigation into Exxon. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) is reportedly investigating, too, though he has declined to confirm it.