Starting in the late 20th century, one of the biggest obstacles in reducing climate change is the inability to decrease atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels. The continuous extraction of fossil fuels are attributable to many big oil corporations such as Rosneft, Chevron, and Conoco Phillips. After many years of failed federal acts and legislation to confront this problem, some states started taking a stand against ExxonMobil, which is one of the biggest oil companies in the United States. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, along with sixteen other state attorney generals, are investigating Exxon for consumer and securities fraud due to Exxon’s alleged misrepresentation of financial and market risks caused by climate change. Particularly, the attorney generals’ investigations of ExxonMobil are centered upon the allegation that the company “knew about the connection of fossil fuels and climate change as far back as 1977, and planned internally around its impacts, while working publicly to discredit climate science.”
Although the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and the other states’ attorney generals are convinced that this investigation is not based on speculation, ExxonMobil disagrees and recently sued the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. ExxonMobil states that Healey’s investigation is violating their First Amendment right of free speech, Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizures, and for violating the Massachusetts statute of limitations. ExxonMobil also argues that the Healey is unable to sue them because ExxonMobil does not conduct business in Massachusetts and cannot be hailed into a Massachusetts court. Interestingly, several other state attorney generals, including Texas, have sided with ExxonMobil and wrote to Maura Healey along with the sixteen other attorney generals, advising them to drop the investigation.
As a society we must think of the implications of this investigation into fossil fuel companies. One significant repercussion of this investigation is the further divide between big business and environmentalists. Nevertheless, this further political rift between the two is very small compared to what is at stake for our environment. We can no longer sit idly by as corporate greed destroys our Earth. It is time for those companies that are responsible for climate change be held accountable because money isn’t the only green thing that is important.
Mary Serreze, ExxonMobil Sues Attorney General Maura Healey Over Climate Fraud Probe, MassLive.com, http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/06/exxonmobil_sues_ag_maura_heale.html.
David Hasemyer, Exxon Sues a Second Attorney General To Fight Off Climate Fraud Probe, Insideclimatenews.org, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/16062016/exxon-sues-massachusetts-attorney-general-climate-change-fraud-investigation.