Huffman calls for probe of oil giant
Humboldt County’s congressional representative Jared Huffman and 17 of his California colleagues urged California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday to “vigorously and publicly” investigate oil companies such as Exxon Mobil for allegedly misleading the public about the causes and dangers of climate change.
Becerra’s predecessor Kamala Harris — who was elected to the Senate last year — had already initiated an investigation into Exxon Mobil in January 2016 on whether the company intentionally covered up internal studies that showed the impacts of burning fossil fuels on climate change.
“California has led the world in responding to the dangers of climate change, and we know that it will continue to do so,” Huffman (D-San Rafael) and the members of Congress wrote to Becerra in a letter Monday. “You now have a unique opportunity to play a leading role in that effort, and we urge you to work to hold ExxonMobil and others accountable for their longstanding, and potentially illegal, cover-up of the dangers of climate change.”
The attorney generals for the states of Massachusetts and New York also opened investigations against Exxon Mobil last year over the same concerns. In mid-January, a Massachusetts judge ordered Exxon Mobil to submit 40 years of documents regarding the company’s studies into fossil fuel impacts on climate change.
Exxon Mobil’s Senior Corporate Media Relations Advisor Scott Silvestri wrote in a Monday email to the Times-Standard that the company rejects any claims that it suppressed climate change research.
“This is an inaccurate distortion of Exxon Mobil’s nearly 40-year history of climate research that was conducted publicly in conjunction with the Department of Energy, academics and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” Silvestri wrote. “To suggest that we had reached definitive conclusions, decades before the world’s experts and while climate science was in an early stage of development, is not credible.”
Silvestri further wrote that the risk of climate change “is clear and warrants thoughtful action.”
A related case is pending in Texas, where Exxon Mobil is trying to get a federal court to quash the New York and Massachusetts attorney generals’ subpoenas of its documents related to climate change.