House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Image courtesy of Congressman Lamar Smith/Facebook.

A dozen state attorney general offices have requested that a House of Representative committee stop its probe into investigations being conducted into ExxonMobil.

A letter sent to House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and seen by the Hill claimed that subpoenas issued by Smith “exceed Congress’ constitutional authority” and should be withdrawn.

Smith’s committee issued subpoenas to the attorney generals of New York and Massachusetts last month, claiming that the attorney generals were attempting to “threaten legitimate scientific debate about climate change,” according to the Hill.

Subpoenas were also issued to eight environmentalist groups and a law firm.

Both the New York and Massachusetts probes are reportedly looking into whether Exxon misled investors about potential business risks tied to climate change.

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

Seventeen attorney general offices announced in April that they are cooperating on probes to determine if energy firms misled investors about risks posed by climate change.

Only New York and Massachusetts have issued subpoenas to ExxonMobil.

The attorney’s general office of the U.S. Virgin Islands dropped a request it had made for Exxon records last month.

Exxon asked a Texas federal court to dismiss a counter-lawsuit it filed in response to the subpoena.

Schneiderman’s office has not disclosed any details about its investigation.

ExxonMobil asked a U.S. District Court in June to throw out a subpoena issued by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in April.

News of the probes surfaced late last year after reports published by the L.A. Times and InsideClimate News alleged that Exxon used climate change data to make operational decisions while working to publicly undermine climate science.

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 media reports prompted two California congressmen to ask the U.S. Department of Justice assess if the company failed to disclose “truthful information”about climate change.

The DOJ referred the request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in March.

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


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