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Massachusetts top court rules against Exxon in climate change probe

Reuters  |  BOSTON 

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts' top court on Friday rejected Exxon Corp's bid to block the state's from obtaining records to investigate whether the company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled had jurisdiction to seek records to probe whether the company's marketing or sale of violated the state's

The ruling marked another setback for Exxon after a in March dismissed a related lawsuit it filed seeking to block investigations by Healey and New York Eric Schneiderman, both of whom are Democrats.

Exxon argued that because it is incorporated in and New Jersey, Healey had no basis to issue a demand for documents in 2016 to conduct a Massachusetts-based investigation of whether it misled consumers and investors.

But Justice Elspeth Cypher, writing for a 6-0 court, said jurisdiction existed because of Exxon's control over advertising conducted for about 300 operating under the Exxon and brands in

She said Healey's probe related to how had caused climate change, "a distinctly modern threat that grows more serious with time, and the effects of which are already being felt in "

Healey said she hoped Exxon would now turn over documents it has fought hard against disclosing, showing what it knew about climate change and when it knew it.

"I hope this decision will encourage Exxon to end their scorched earth campaign," she said.

Scott Silvestri, a for Exxon, said the company was considering its next steps.

Healey and Schneiderman launched their investigations following reports in 2015 saying Exxon's own scientists determined that fossil fuel combustion must be reduced to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Those reports by InsideClimate and were based on documents from the 1970s and 1980s. Exxon contended that the documents were not inconsistent with its public positions.

Exxon has called the investigations politically motivated and in a separate lawsuit filed in federal court claimed that Schneiderman and Healey were conspiring to "silence and intimidate one side of the public policy debate."

But U.S. in Manhattan dismissed that case in March, rejecting as "implausible" Exxons' claim Healey and Schneiderman were pursuing bad faith investigations in order to violate its constitutional rights.

(Reporting by in Boston; Editing by and Bill Trott)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, April 14 2018. 01:08 IST