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Environmentalists Call for Investigations of Exxon

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016   

NEW YORK - What did Exxon know about climate change and when did it know it? That's what environmentalists want state attorneys general to investigate.

Activists from 350.org on Tuesday presented signed petitions to the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington. Lindsay Meiman, U.S. communications coordinator for the group, said Exxon Mobil executives knew that fossil fuels were causing global climate change in the 1970s but hid that information from shareholders.

"Exxon instead poured millions of dollars into think tanks and lobbyists to sow doubt and confusion among the public and government," she said.

In November, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil intentionally hid from investors the risks that climate change could pose to the company's business, allegations the company denies.

Environmentalists say Exxon was preparing for the effects of global temperature increases and rising sea levels. According to Meiman, the oil company was preparing drilling platforms for deepening waters and planning to drill in areas that had been inaccessible.

"They leased areas in the Arctic," she said, "knowing that the Arctic sea ice would melt and they would have more opportunity for exploration for even more oil in that area."

Last month, officials in California launched an investigation similar to the one under way in New York. 350.org has joined with a broad coalition of environmental groups in urging other states to follow those examples.

More information is online at tomdispatch.com.


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