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ExxonMobil Prepares To Sue California Cities over Climate Change Claims

ExxonMobil Prepares To Sue California Cities over Climate Change Claims

State politicos slam the gas giant for potential floods, but fail to describe disaster worries to bond investors.

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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Leftists Judge shop their claims. So now ExxonMobil is dragging leftists California municipalities into a Texas Court. How ironic for these leftists.

    practicalconservative in reply to dystopia. | January 11, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Perhaps one of the municipalities will go to one of their favorite Federal District Court Judges such as William Alsup to get a Writ of Prohibition.

    It is truly dangerous when District Court judges behave like judicial oligarchs and insert themselves into policy disputes. Exxonmobil is more easily victimized by these oligarchs. As for the President, it may be time to start ignoring their orders.

    Declaratory relief is a statutory construct of Congress. The Presidents authority is constitutionally based. In some circumstances (e.g. an order not to attack North Korea without first obtaining permission of the Court) the President should be free to ignore the interfering oligarch.

Activist attorneys approach the Federal Judiciary with almost a religious fervor. In fact, the District Courts and Circuit Courts are legislative constructs of Congress. Their ability to fashion declaratory and injunction relief stems from Statute.

A future Congress can limit these powers. It could require that any broad constitutional ruling or injunction in a case where the President is a Defendant require a vote of the Supreme Court to take effect.

Counsel, I agree with your approach. Legislative and Executive branches need to exert “checks and balance” powers on to the courts.

Punch back twice as hard. Punch those commies right in the face.

What they’re showing by claiming that climate “concerns” are not being disclosed to bond investors is that those alleged concerns aren’t real.

Good for Exxon! I wish them all the luck in the world.

Another reason I hate lawyers (except of course the Illuminati here).

    Tom Servo in reply to Obie1. | January 11, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Just a reminder, every lawyer on their side requires at least one (usually more) on ours. Who do you think is managing Exxon’s counterattack strategy? Or managed Chevron’s take down of Donziger? (really, there should be a movie made out of that one, but Hollywood would never touch it because it shows the left for what they are – a pack of corrupt thieves)

    Anyway, what people really lament is that our society has allowed Law to become the battlefield in which all of our cultural battles are being waged, and that happens because we have allowed Government to take over all aspects of our public and private lives.

    Our problem isn’t that individual people are corrupt – they always have been and always will be. Our problem is that our System is corrupt, to the core.

      YellowSnake in reply to Tom Servo. | January 11, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Climate change doesn’t have a side.

        Tom Servo in reply to YellowSnake. | January 11, 2018 at 11:42 am

        Actually Climate Change is exclusively a left wing fantasy.

        And you’ll be glad to know that the “97%” meme has been falsified by the 475 peer reviewed papers published just this last year in scholarly journals which call the entire methodology of the Climate Change Religion into question.

        Including the major revision of the Ocean Temperature surveys which was just published in the last weeks, and of which I’m sure you have never heard, because it was inconvenient to you religious views on the matter.

          YellowSnake in reply to Tom Servo. | January 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm

          I don’t care about the ‘97%’. That was the whole point. It is not a vote. There is no side. It is either true or not.

          You seem to have made up your mind based on the side you are on. That makes it a religion for you. But don’t project that on me or anyone else.

        Why are you here? You have no facts. You have no reasoned arguments. You have nothing. You come here and poop in the comments section so that you can get through another day in your miserable life as a progressive.

        News flash, YellowTroll people that live with the truth are happy, and people that don’t aren’t. Maybe you should reconsider which side you want to live on.

          YellowSnake in reply to Shane. | January 11, 2018 at 2:49 pm

          Your memory is selective. Sometimes I provide facts. Sometimes I present reasoned arguments. Often there is no need for an argument because the comment is illogical or partisan.

          For instance: You and your side are happy because you live with the truth? Is that a proven fact or a reasoned argument?

          Why do you respond if you are so happy and so sure I am wrong? It seems you will not be happy until everyone thinks like you. Here’s a thought – you still won’t be happy.

          Anonamom in reply to Shane. | January 11, 2018 at 3:36 pm

          Well, gosh, Shane. I think he’s trying to convince us of his righteousness with all of his wit, intelligence, and charm. (That was sarcasm, for those of you in Rio Linda.)

          Tom Servo in reply to Shane. | January 11, 2018 at 4:26 pm

          Yellow-worm knocks himself with this post alone. He NEVER presents facts, and he NEVER presents and NEVER presents “reasoned” arguments. Just look right here – he tosses out fortune cookie lines like they are supposed to be “arguments”.

          He wouldn’t know a reasoned argument if it got off the page, jumped on top of a table and did a little dance while it sang “I am a Reasoned Argument!!!”

        Climate change does have sides: useful idiots, hucksters, corrupt academics, corrupt communists and fascists on one side – and the rest of us on the other.

        It’s comforting to be on the latter.

        Climate change is a fact. However, man-made global climate change [i.e. Man-made Global Warming] is a theory, which has yet to be proven.

        That the sun rises from the Eastern horizon, appears to traverse the sky and then set below the Western horizon are all facts. That the Sun is fixed in the “bowl” of the heavens or revolves around the Earth or that the Earth rotates an/or revolves around the Sun are all theories. Over the centuries, we have amassed enough evidence to prove the theory that the Earth both rotates AND revolves around the Sun. However, no such evidence exists to prove that any action of mankind is responsible for the gradual increase in general global temperatures. Even if the actions of mankind are responsible, there is no evidence that changes in mankind’s actions will halt or reverse it.

        It, therefor, becomes difficult to sue any entity for the effects of general global warming, if it can not be proven, definitively, to be the result of human actions, let alone those of a specific human entity. The California attempt to extort money from Exxon will fail.

      YellowSnake in reply to Tom Servo. | January 11, 2018 at 11:33 am

      Exxon isn’t corrupt? That’s a good one!

        And your glorious government is our savior … you’re a child. I will take Exxon over the government any day.

          Tom Servo in reply to Shane. | January 11, 2018 at 1:35 pm

          And he only plays to leftist shibboleth’s like the Exxon Meme. The funny thing is, PeMex in Mexico is notoriously corrupt. Hugo Chavez’s PdVSA is notoriously corrupt. Exxon has know for 50 years that it is always going to be under a great deal of scrutiny, so in industry is has the strong reputation of being one of the most well run and conservatively managed, financially speaking, corporations in the world.

          So in fact, all evidence supports the fact that Exxon is NOT corrupt, and is in fact one of the most trustworthy entities in the business world today.

        guyjones in reply to YellowSnake. | January 11, 2018 at 7:37 pm

        Stop traveling by airplane, you shameful, global warming-inducing hypocrite — a multinational oil company produced the kerosene that is taking you to the next Leftist Idiots Conference in San Francisco, or, Portland, or wherever the hell you all are meeting this year.

      guyjones in reply to Tom Servo. | January 11, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Personally, I would pay to see a dramatization of the Chevron-Donziger shakedown saga, but, you’re right — this film will never get made, because the narrative runs totally counter to Leftists’/Hollywood’s pre-conceived notions with respect to dramatic convention, in which too many legal dramas to name feature some scrappy, underdog attorney and/or plaintiff, taking on a big, bad, allegedly “evil,” corporation.

      It’s too bad, because, this is a story that needs to be told more widely, about the lengths to which unscrupulous and zealous Leftists will stoop to not only line their own pockets via brazen deceit and chicanery, but, to accrue self-congratulatory “social justice” plaudits from their peers, along the way.

OleDirtyBarrister | January 11, 2018 at 11:56 am

The only science pertaining to AGW or climate change that the marxists acknowledge or accept is that which reinforces their agenda and closely held biases.

There is a hell of a lot of published studies out there that go in the other direction.

Moreover, the amount of perfidy, fudging, and fraud in the “science” supporting a conclusion of man-induced GW should give any critically thinking person pause about reaching a conclusion. Then there is the issue that the “scientific community” has been wrong about so many material issues in the past, including climate, and specifically the alarmism just decades ago over a forthcoming ice age.

OleDirtyBarrister | January 11, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Exxon will have a standing problem unless it bought those bonds at issuance and showed that they acted in reliance on representations and misrepresentations. Further, the reforms to securities litigation works against them.

However, the issue is relevant to whether the plaintiffs have clean hands if equitable relief is sought, and it publicly exposes their hypocrisy [if AGW is real].

    Exxon is borrowing a page from the activists handbook. The case isn’t about actually winning the suit, it’s about publicizing the issue.

    Don’t need to have bought the stock since they are suing, among other reasons, for malicious prosecution. The fact that they themselves assert no probability of flooding should be dispositive.

    Legal Technicalities such as standing don’t seem to matter in left wing Activist cases. How on earth does the State of Hawaii or the State of California have jurisdiction in district Court to sue over DACA or Trumps immigration pause?

    So if the left wing Attorney General of California is given a pass on standing I guess ExxonMobil also deserves a pass.

    actually I suspect Exxon has standing due to the cities/state suing them.

    the fun part is going to see what kind of gyrations/gymnastics the cities and state are going to go through to prove the gas and oil companies have anything to do with AGW.

Dear Exxon,
Hammer them like a nail.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | January 11, 2018 at 12:29 pm

“Sue! Baby, Sue!”

Wonder if they’re adding DeBlasio to the suit, since he just did the same thing.

I spent some minutes reviewing NYC bond disclosures yesterday. In particular the economic outlook and the real property tax sections of the disclosures, although I examined all sections. Not a word about rising sea levels going 30 years out. In fact the real property tax revenues and base were expected to increase at the same decadal rate they have in the past 30 years.

Don’t you love how the Left always see the defense of these outlandish lawsuits as “farfetched” and “can’t see a court taking seriously”? Yet, their claims to show that the seas will inundate the coasts of California in a short while is somehow provable? Do we get to interplay India and China? Has California banned or rationed the sale of fossil fuels — after all, if they are going to cause the City of San Francisco to be inundated with water in the near future, you ought to do something, right?

Hope the oil companies decide to stop selling their products there because of risk of litigation.

The state of California built and continues to maintain a large network of state highways. These highways were built primarily to facilitate the use of fossil-fueled motor vehicles, and continue to be primarily used by such vehicles.

It’s as though the state were to sue coffee processors even though it maintained thousands of coffeehouses in which coffee was brewed and served.

Are they going to claim that they wouldn’t have built or would have ceased maintaining these highways if they’d known about the presumed effect of fossil on climate, AND that the reason why they didn’t know was because Exxon deceived them?

Even if it someday becomes prudent to limit the use of fossil fuels, given the huge risks and benefits involved, don’t such decisions belong within the electoral political process, and not in some courtroom somewhere? Does anyone believe any single judge, or judge and jury, would have the wisdom to decide such a thing for all of us? And that they should have the authority to do so?

    stevewhitemd in reply to Albigensian. | January 11, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Those highways were built in advance of the anticipated clean vehicles that don’t use any sort of fossil fuel, or electricity derived from fossil fuels or nuclear energy, for propulsion. Now we don’t have such vehicles yet, nor are they on the horizon, but it’s the duty of government to be prepared…

We should just change the name to Climate Taxation.

2 points:

It’s not the production of carbon based fuels that causes the ‘problem’, it’s their consumption. No one forces anyone in CA to burn (or buy) anything Exxon makes, or burn it afterwards.

Give CA what it wants. Effective 2/1/18, stop the sale of carbon based fuels in CA and the import or consumption of energy derived from carbon based fuels. It’s what they want, so give it to them – make them happy.