Oil and Gas

Exxon climate-change probe goes to Massachusetts top court

BOSTON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp will urge Massachusetts’ top court on Tuesday to allow it to avoid handing over records to the state’s attorney general amid a probe into whether the oil company misled investors and consumers about its knowledge of climate change.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is scheduled to hear arguments over Exxon’s bid to overturn a lower-court ruling that required the company to turn over documents to Attorney General Maura Healey as part of the investigation.

Healey, a Democrat, and New York Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sought records after news reports in 2015 about how Exxon’s own scientists determined that reducing fossil fuel combustion was needed to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Healey’s office says those documents from the 1970s and 1980s suggested that Exxon failed to disclose what it knew to consumers and investors and engaged in a campaign to sow doubts about the science of climate change.

Exxon contends that the documents, published by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times, were not inconsistent with its public positions.

After Healey issued a civil investigative demand for documents in April 2016, Exxon filed a lawsuit challenging the records request and another case in federal court challenging her and Schneiderman’s investigations.

In January, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger denied Exxon’s request for an order exempting it from handing over the documents. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Peter Cooney)