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More than 40 of the nation’s leading environmental and social justice groups demanded a federal investigation of Exxon Mobil on Friday, accusing the huge oil and gas company of deceiving the American public about the risks of climate change to protect its profits.
In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the groups, citing recent news reports, suggested that Exxon Mobil might be guilty of the same kind of fraud that the tobacco companies were found to have perpetrated when they hid the risks of smoking. Those violations ultimately cost the companies tens of billions of dollars in penalties.
The call for an investigation echoes demands made in recent days by three Democratic presidential candidates, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and by several Democrats in Congress.
Exxon Mobil rejected the comparison to the tobacco industry, declaring that it had helped to finance accurate scientific research about climate change and that it had made its research public from the 1970s to the present.