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Massachusetts judge gives green light for attorney general to sue Exxon Mobil

Shawn M. Carter

A Massachusetts judge Thursday gave the state's attorney general the go-ahead to sue Exxon Mobil “at the earliest possible moment.” The lawsuit stems from allegations that the company hid intel from investors and consumers of fossil fuels’ role in climate change.

Exxon had sought to delay the filling by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, reports noted, until another suit on similar claims by New York's attorney general ended.

Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger said during a recent hearing that Healey's office needed to give Exxon an opportunity to discuss the case at least five days before suing, but was under no obligation to wait longer.

In the same hearing, according to a report by Reuters, Assistant Attorney General Richard Johnston said, “We should be allowed to file our lawsuit at the earliest possible moment."

Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the New York suit, Exxon fought charges it kept secret records that vastly underrated the costs of potential climate change regulation, while publicly claiming it had not. The filing said the oil giant engaged in a “fraudulent scheme” that “in effect, erected a Potemkin village to create the illusion that it had fully considered the risks of future climate change regulation and had factored those risks into its business operations.”

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Exxon maintains the government’s theory of is “flawed,” according to a report in the New York Times. The company has conducted a slew of scientific research on climate change published in scientific journals and came out in support of the Paris Climate Accord, which President Donald Trump has said the United States will withdraw from.

The company's stock is down 12 percent on the year.

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