Legal Insurrection readers will recall that several California cities and counties sued a number of gas companies, asking for billions of dollars to protect against rising sea levels they blamed on climate change.

However, in an intriguing turn of events, ExxonMobil is turning the tables and counter-suing these municipalities. The company notes that though these same cities and counties claim that they are seriously threatened by floods and other environmental problems because of “climate change”, they clearly failed to disclose these dire concerns to potential bond investors.

…ExxonMobil accused the localities of exaggerating the climate-change threat in court documents, arguing that they failed to raise red flags about climate-driven disasters such as drought, wildfires and ocean acidification in their earlier bond offerings.

“Notwithstanding their claims of imminent, allegedly near-certain harm, none of the municipalities disclosed to investors such risks in their respective bond offerings, which collectively netted over $8 billion for these local governments over the last 27 years,” said ExxonMobil in its petition in Texas District Court.

“To the contrary, some of the disclosures affirmatively denied any ability to measure those risks; the others virtually ignored them,” said the petition.

ExxonMobil also stated it was a victim of “abusive law enforcement tactics and litigation” by those trying to achieve “political objectives.”

“ExxonMobil finds itself directly in that conspiracy’s crosshairs,” the filing said, adding that Exxon has reason to believe local municipal officials could “conceal and potentially even destroy evidence.”

The plaintiffs include the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz and Imperial Beach (San Diego County) and the counties of San Mateo, Marin, and Santa Cruz. It appears the city and county representatives may have some serious explaining to do:

In Monday’s filing in a Texas state court, ExxonMobil seeks permission to question and obtain documents from leaders in the communities suing the company. The document says ExxonMobil is planning a lawsuit of its own, with potential claims of abuse of process, civil conspiracy and violations of ExxonMobil’s constitutional rights by the communities.

Of course, the response from the state’s eco-warrior politicos to this development is as thoughtful and balanced as you would anticipate.

A spokesman for San Francisco’s city attorney called the Exxon move “outrageous” and an “attempted end-run around the California courts.” He added, “it’s exactly what you would expect from a company like Exxon.”

Marin County counsel Brian Washington, who Exxon wants to depose, said local officials won’t be dissuaded by Exxon’s petition.

“We will continue to stand up for our taxpayers so that they aren’t on the hook for all the costs of addressing the damage caused by Exxon and others in the fossil fuel industry,” Washington said in a statement.

…Michael Burger, executive director for Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, said he “can’t imagine any court will treat seriously” Exxon’s complaints.

“It wouldn’t be farfetched to see this as an attempt to harass the officials in the lawsuit as a way to scare them off of it,” Burger said.

I am delighted that ExxonMobil poured some fuel on the “climate change” fire, and hope to see plans for the massive diversion of monies to fund future progressive activism go up in smoke!


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