20 Mar 2017 04:31 PM EST
Lawyers for a group of teenagers suing the U.S. government in a climate change case have asked the government and the oil industry's leading trade group to turn over emails sent and received by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson using an alias address while he was running Exxon Mobil. One of the lawyers said that it was possible that Tillerson was using the email address to communicate with people in government on issues related to climate and energy policy. Tillerson left Exxon Mobil Corp, where he had been chief executive and chairman, in December, and also stepped down then as chairman of industry trade group the American Petroleum Institute. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, which is probing whether Exxon misled shareholders and the public about climate change, wrote to a judge last week accusing the company of not previously disclosing the alias and Tillerson's communications through it. The teenagers' case, filed in federal court in Oregon, seeks to prove government officials and oil industry leaders knew about the causes and effects of climate change but nevertheless carried on with policies that perpetuated it, violating Americans' constitutional right to live in a habitable climate. The federal government has argued in court filings that there is no support for the claim that Americans are constitutionally entitled to a protected climate, while the API has said climate science is not firmly established enough to support the teenagers' case.
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