Climate Crimes: How Exxon is leveraging Texas courts to silence its climate critics

America’s largest oil firm claims its history of publicly denying the climate crisis is protected by the first amendment. And, Rule 202 in effect allows corporations to go on a fishing expedition for incriminating evidence. They are able to question individuals under oath and demand access to documents even before any legal action is filed against them.

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Guardian: ExxonMobil is attempting to use an unusual Texas law to target and intimidate its critics, claiming that lawsuits against the company over its long history of downplaying and denying the climate crisis violate the US constitution’s guarantees of free speech.

The US’s largest oil firm is asking the Texas supreme court to allow it to use the law, known as rule 202, to pursue legal action against more than a dozen California municipal officials.

Exxon claims that in filing lawsuits against the company over its role in the climate crisis, the officials are orchestrating a conspiracy against the firm’s first amendment rights.

The mayor of Imperial Beach, Serge Dedina, Imperial Beach, CA, USA, October 7th 2021 (CREDIT: John Francis Peters)
A US small-town mayor sued the oil industry. Then Exxon went after him
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The oil giant also makes the curious claim that legal action in the California courts is an infringement of the sovereignty of Texas, where the company is headquartered.

Eight California cities and counties have accused Exxon and other oil firms of breaking state laws by misrepresenting and burying evidence, including from its own scientists, of the threat posed by rising temperatures.

The municipalities are seeking billions of dollars in compensation for damage caused by wildfires, flooding and other extreme weather events, and to meet the cost of building new infrastructure to prepare for the consequences of rising global temperatures.

Rule 202 in effect allows corporations to go on a fishing expedition for incriminating evidence. They are able to question individuals under oath and demand access to documents even before any legal action is filed against them.

Read more…

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/18/exxon-texas-courts-critics-climate-crimes

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