Efforts by climate activists and aligned politicians to bring endless investigation and litigation against oil and gas companies regarding climate change are becoming increasingly desperate and absurd. However, one investigation seems to never end.
Even after the climate lawsuits in California and New York City were thrown out by federal judges on the basis that the courts are not the proper venue to deal with climate change, the New York Attorney General continues to demand documents from ExxonMobil in search of anything that can remotely be construed as wrongdoing on climate.
Nearly three years after now former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his official investigation into whether ExxonMobil misled investors and the public about the impacts of climate change, the company is still being forced to fight an endless fishing expedition for documents as one conspiracy theory after another gets knocked down. Recently, the company filed a brief opposing the New York Attorney General’s attempt to obtain even more documents from the company.
Last year we noted the astounding amount of information Exxon has turned over to the New York Attorney General to comply with what amounts to a political witch-hunt. At the time, Exxon had turned over 3 million pages of documents, which would be roughly the height of the Chrysler building if stacked. In the brief, Exxon succinctly updated this figure:
“Since it launched this groundless investigation nearly three years ago, OAG has publicly pursued an ever-shifting array of failed investigative theories in search of one that will stick. As a consequence, ExxonMobil has now produced more than four million pages of documents that, if stacked, would stand higher than the Empire State Building. ExxonMobil has also proffered 18 witnesses for examination, who collectively have testified for nearly 200 hours (or 25 days). If there were ever any doubt, this mountain of evidence makes unmistakably clear that OAG’s investigation has met its natural end. But rather than concede that this investigation should not have been pursued, OAG has doubled down on yet another baseless theory.”
The New York Attorney General’s numerous failed attempts to punish Exxon make a mockery of the office. Instead of protecting the people of New York, the Attorney General is devoting limited resources to target a private company that is a political opponent. It is time for the investigation to end.