As we reported in April, the Attorney Generals of New York, California, Massachusetts, and the Virgin Islands have joined in a multistate investigation into Exxon’s knowledge of the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change as far back as 1977. Part of that investigation includes a subpoena from the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands, seeking roughly forty years of records from Exxon related to alleged violations of Virgin Islands law. Exxon has sought to quash this subpoena in Texas state court.
On May 16, 2016, the AGs of Texas and Alabama moved to intervene in the Texas state court action. The four page motion asserts an interest “in Ensuring Constitutional Safeguards for Prosecutions of its Residents” and criticizes the role of a private firm assisting the Virgin Islands AG in the investigation. In particular, the Texas AG stated that Exxon’s “fundamental rights, including speech, lie in the balance.”
This latest move illustrates the continued high political stakes surrounding the Exxon investigation, and we may continue to see AGs choosing sides as it continues.