Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Image courtesy of Massachusetts Attorney General's Office/Facebook.

ExxonMobil has asked a U.S. District Court to throw out a subpoena tied to a climate data probe in Massachusetts.

In a court filing seen by Reuters, the company said that a subpoena issued by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in April violated the company’s rights to free speech, unreasonable search and seizure and equal protection.

Exxon also said the subpoena asked for documents that fall outside of the statute of limitations.

The state’s attorney general’s office told Reuters it is reviewing the filing.

The Massachusetts probe is one of several investigations being led by over a dozen U.S. attorney generals into whether energy firms misled shareholders about the risks posed by climate change.

The Exxon probe is tied to allegations that the firm utilized climate change to make operational decisions while also working to publicly undermine climate change science.

The allegations were featured in a series of investigative reports published last year by the L.A. Times and InsideClimate News.

In October, Exxon vice president of public and government affairs Ken Cohen said that activists “deliberately cherry-picked statements attributed to various company employees to wrongly suggest definitive conclusions were reached decades ago by company researchers.”

Exxon confirmed in November that it received a subpoena from New York Attorney Eric Schneiderman for documents “relating to climate change.”

Exxon has denied any wrongdoing and has noted that it has included information about climate related business risks for many years in its 10-K, Corporate Citizenship Report, and in other reports to shareholders.

The investigative reports prompted two California congressmen to request that the U.S. Department of Justice assess if the firm failed to disclose “truthful information” about climate change.

The DOJ said in March that it had referred the request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

No official investigation has been ordered and the FBI is not obligated to investigate the matter.


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