Judge suggests AG's case against Exxon brought in bad faith
A federal judge in Texas is questioning the motivations behind a Democratic state attorney general's investigation into oil giant Exxon Mobil over climate change.I think the litigation is the search for a windfall for a dubious case.
Judge Ed Kinkeade of the federal district court of Texas issued a preliminary discovery order Thursday in which he said he suspected Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey acted in "bad faith" by subpoenaing the company for decades of records and emails on the issue of climate change.
Healey and some other Democratic state attorneys general, have been prodding Exxon and conservative free-market groups for months, looking to build a case that shows the company committed fraud by covering up evidence that climate change threatened its business. Many scientists blame greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels for driving manmade climate change.
The judge wants Healey to fork over documents that would help him understand the basis for her investigation. Opponents of the probe say the federal court could unravel the Democrats' efforts by revealing what emails and other documents obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests have shown — that the investigation is based on specious facts and is driven by politics, not policy, the law or science.
"We know from FOIA'd emails that the AGs in Schneiderman's climate coalition tried to hide behind a Common Interest Agreement, which would keep their correspondence on the Exxon investigations secret," according to a blog posted by the oil industry-backed group Energy In Depth. "But sunlight is the best disinfectant, they say, and that is exactly what taxpayers will get [as] a result of today's action."