In recent years, some environmentalists and their political allies have pursued aggressive lawsuits and investigations as part of an effort to change public policy on climate change. These activities include civil lawsuits that some California municipalities brought last year, seeking compensation from energy companies for the costs of responding to climate change.

Earlier this month, one of the private defendants in the California lawsuits fired back in a surprising way. On January 8, 2018, the Exxon Mobil Corporation (“Exxon”) filed a petition in a Texas state court to obtain pre-suit discovery against officials of the California localities and their legal counsel.

Exxon’s Texas petition points out what appears to be a striking contradiction. In their civil lawsuits, the localities have asserted that climate change will result in specific harms to them and to their citizens. Exxon’s petition suggests that in the very recent past, those same California localities have advertised bond offerings that did not disclose these harms to investors.

Indeed, Exxon argues that some of the municipalities’ bond-offering documents affirmatively contradict the specific statements of harm that the municipalities made in their litigation complaints.

Click here to read the full column on the WLF Legal Pulse website.