Ever since New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey sued ExxonMobil in federal court in an effort to prove that the company had knowingly lied to its shareholders and the public about the effects of burning fossil fuels on the environment, Exxon has been in full hunker down mode. In an attempt to put the kibosh on the suits brought by New York and Massachusetts, the company filed its own suit seeking to have the cases transferred to a court in Texas, where it expected to receive a more sympathetic hearing.
It didn’t. Today, US District Court Judge Ed Kinkeade ruled that Exxon’s complaints against the Attorneys General should be transferred out of Texas to the Southern District of New York because “a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred” in New York City.
“The decision is a major blow to Exxon’s efforts to distract from the valid investigations into whether the company lied to the public and its investors about the dangers of global warming,” said Jamie Henn, 350.org strategic communications director. “Instead of coming up with more bogus legal maneuvers, Exxon should comply with the Attorneys General requests, including handing over Tillerson’s secret ‘Wayne Tracker’ emails.” (Exxon says it can’t find them.)
Exxon’s highly paid attorneys decided that the best defense is a good offense. They served 350.0rg, one of the main parties in interest to the litigation, with a subpoena demanding disclosure of all the organizations e-mails. Exxon insists the suits are a political witch hunt and fishing expedition. 350.org has filed a motion to quash the subpoena. That motion will now be heard by the US District Court for the southern district of New York.
“The public deserves the truth about what Exxon Knew,” saide Henn. “The company is arguing we want to silence them, but it’s just the opposite: we want them to speak clearly and honestly about their track record of climate denial so we can get to work solving the problem. Instead of continuing to follow the Big Tobacco playbook of deceit and deception, Exxon should come clean and own up to the damage it’s caused.”
“With Rex Tillerson now guiding our international climate policy as Secretary of State, this case is more important than ever,” Henn continued. “If Tillerson used a secret email to discuss Exxon’s climate coverup, that would turn out to be an absolute bombshell. We could be on the verge of seeing an acting Secretary of State getting pulled into a fraud investigation. And this isn’t just any old fraud: Exxon’s crimes are on a planetary scale.”
Exxon? Crimes? This is starting to get interesting just at a time when speculation is rampant that Russian meddling in the latest US election was little more than a gambit to get the $500 million in sanctions imposed by the Obama administration after Russia invaded the Ukraine lifted. There is even talk that Tillerson and Putin are working together to cut a deal opening the Arctic to oil exploration and drilling.
Such talk amounts to nothing more than allegations at present, but the tenacity of 350.org may eventually force the truth into the public domain. If true, we could learn that members of the US government have engaged in the largest political corruption scheme in human history.
Source: 350.org via e-mail
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