Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
March 3 — The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have formally acknowledged lawmakers' request for a federal investigation into Exxon Mobil Corp. over allegations that it misled investors and the public about the effects of climate change.
But it remains unclear what might happen next.
“As a courtesy,” the request has been forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine if a probe of the oil giant is warranted, according to a January letter from the DOJ's assistant attorney general for legislative affairs provided to Bloomberg BNA March 3 by the office of Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). The SEC's staff also is considering it, the commission's chairwoman Mary Jo White wrote in December, but it cannot comment on “the existence or non-existence” of any investigation.
“It's conceivable that the FBI could come back and say, ‘We don’t have a basis for proceeding with a more formal investigation at this time,' ” Carroll Muffett, who leads the nonprofit Center for International Environmental Law, told Bloomberg BNA. “It is equally conceivable that the FBI could come back and say, indeed, they’re initiating an inquiry.”
Either way, the answer may not come for a long time, given the complexity of the issue and its high stakes, he said.
The letters were addressed to Lieu and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), who were among a chorus of voices calling for an investigation after a series of media reports suggested Exxon Mobil tried to downplay research from in-house scientists confirming the link between fossil fuels and climate change and the risks that it could pose.
Exxon Mobil has maintained the allegations “deliberately distort” its nearly 40-year history of climate research. “To suggest that we had reached definitive conclusions, decades before the world’s experts and while climate science was in an early stage of development, is not credible,” spokesman Scott Silvestri said in a March 3 e-mail.
The DOJ and SEC did not return requests for comment.
The attorneys general of New York and California already have launched their own inquiries into the Irving, Texas-based company.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at email@example.com
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)