Wednesday also marked the same day as Tillerson’s senate confirmation hearing, during which he “essentially pleaded the fifth,” as Oil Change International executive director Stephen Kretzmann put it, when asked about Exxon’s climate crimes.

“This decision could help expose not only what Exxon knew and covered up in the past but also what kind of activities and denialism it continues to fund to undermine climate action,” Lawrence-Samuel continued, referring to the Massachusetts ruling. “This decision is proof that states will lead where the federal government won’t. While Donald Trump’s administration is focused on advancing the interests of Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel interests, states like Massachusetts will continue to lead the way on exposing Big Oil’s dirty tactics and advancing climate action.”

Similarly, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said, “Rex Tillerson may be trying to make his getaway, but it’s good to see that the courts may yet hold Exxon responsible for the damage it’s done to this planet and to our democracy.”

“It was astonishing to watch Tillerson dodge and weave,” McKibben added, “almost as if he hadn’t spent his entire career at ExxonMobil. Apparently, alongside the climate damage it causes, longterm exposure to Big Oil impairs your memory.”

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