BOSTON ( Associated Press) — Massachusetts’ supreme court on Tuesday rejected a bid by ExxonMobil to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state alleging that the oil giant has been swaying the fossil fuels for its role in climate change. Accused of misleading the public about
The lawsuit, filed in 2019 by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy, alleged that Exxon defrauded consumers and investors about climate change “reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s long denial campaign about the dangerous effects of cigarettes”. started an attempt.
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upheld a lower court ruling that rejected the company’s argument that a state law protected it from trial.
Exxon had a phone message seeking comment, which has denied spreading misinformation about the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming.
At a congressional hearing last year, the company’s CEO Darren Woods told lawmakers That its public statements on climate “have always been and have been true” and that Exxon has “long acknowledged the reality and risks of climate change” and “dedicated significant resources to addressing those risks.”
The Massachusetts lawsuit says Exxon is engaged in a “sophisticated, multimillion-dollar campaign” to sow skepticism in climate science and downplay the link between fossil fuels and climate change. The lawsuit says that Exxon also launched a “greenwashing campaign” in an effort to portray itself as environmentally responsible.
“Instead of honestly disclosing and mitigating climate change risks, ExxonMobil’s misrepresentation and failures to disclose those risks have delayed the necessary transition to clean energy around the world and these existential implications for the global economy.” Climate-driven hazards are more likely to occur,” the complaint says.
Healy called the court’s decision a “great victory” in the state’s efforts to “prevent Exxon from lying to investors and consumers.”
“Exxon’s repeated attempts to thwart our trial are unfounded, and this effort was no different. We look forward to moving forward with our case and showing our day in court how Exxon is breaking the law and once again.” And to end deception for all,” she said in a statement.
Lawyers for Exxon argued in court documents that the company’s statements about climate change and energy policy were “protected petition activity,” even though they were designed to protect the company’s reputation.
But the top court said the law claimed by Exxon should protect the company in this case does not apply to government enforcement actions brought by the attorney general.
It is the latest twist in a years-long battle between Massachusetts and Exxon. The company previously unsuccessfully sued Massachusetts in an attempt to block Haley’s investigation into Exxon and climate change.