A New York judge on Wednesday ordered ExxonMobil [corporate website] to cooperate with a New York investigation into whether the company misled others about the effects of climate change. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman [official profile] had issued previous subpoenas to both ExxonMobil and their outside auditing servicers, and a New York state court in October 2016 ordered [text, PDF] compliance. However, Schneiderman submitted a letter [text, PDF] to the court earlier this month stating that ExxonMobil “has failed to comply in good faith,” and asserting that ExxonMobil has “continuously delayed and obstructed the production of documents from its top executives and board members.” The letter came after Schneiderman’s office learned of an e-mail account under the name “Wayne Tracker,” utilized by Rex Tillerson [official profile], current US Secretary of State [official website] and former ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO. ExxonMobil issued a letter in response [text, PDF] calling Schneiderman’s arguments “speculative and inaccurate.” Justice Barry Ostrager’s [official profile] order on Wednesday called for ExxonMobil to turn over [Reuters report] all management committee documents by March 31, as well as instructing ExxonMobil to work with Schneiderman’s office to recover lost emails from the “Wayne Tracker” email account. Ostrager also called for sworn affidavits [BI report] by April 10 from ExxonMobil management regarding their efforts and compliance with the order and subpoena.
In January the Suffolk Superior Court in Massachusetts ordered ExxonMobil to turn over 40 years’ worth of documents on climate change [JURIST report]. Climate change and its connection to fossil fuel companies have been prevalent in legal news in recent months. In December Murray Energy Corporation [official website], the largest privately owned coal company in the US, filed [JURIST report] a lawsuit in an attempt to block new regulations promulgated by the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement [official website]. The same month former President Barack Obama announced [JURIST report] a ban on offshore drilling in almost 120 million acres of federally owned Arctic and Atlantic waters. A judge for the US District Court for the District of Oregon ruled [JURIST report] in November that a lawsuit against the US federal government over failure to limit the emission of greenhouse gasses could proceed.