Opinion: California should take its times investigating Exxon Mobil

A photo taken Jan. 30, 2012, shows the sign outside an oil refinery facility in Torrance, Calif. that until this year was owned by Exxon Mobil. The plant was sold for $537.5-million to New Jersey-based PBF Energy.
(Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

To the editor: Just because California is relatively silent about its strategy and tactics with regard to Exxon Mobil’s decision in the 1970s to cover up the facts about what the use of fossil fuels is doing to the atmosphere doesn’t mean the state isn’t doing its due diligence. (“Mobil case high on his list,” editorial, Dec. 30)

California doesn’t have to telegraph every detail of its investigation; it can and should operate the same way Exxon Mobil has to bring to light the extended effort the company has made to keep the damage to the planet under wraps while it profits.

Hopefully the evidence California uncovers will be thoroughly researched, rendering it irrefutable by Exxon Mobil Chief Executive and Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump. The people desperately need to learn just what the next leaders of our nation are made of, from Trump on down.

Lincoln Gable Riley, Los Angeles



To the editor: I appreciate your call to hold Exxon Mobil accountable for decades old knowledge about global warming and plans for adjusting to it, all the while pretending they weren’t aware.

The Times should go a step further: Ask Tillerson to ratchet up the support he’s already expressed for a national tax on carbon. Beyond just awareness of fossil fuel’s impact on climate change, oil companies can see tremendous future profits investing in clean energy as it rapidly becomes cheaper than fossil fuels. And they prefer the predictability of a steadily increasing carbon tax that reduces demand for fossil fuels to the fuzziness of state and federal regulations whose impacts are less certain.

A revenue-neutral carbon tax, with all proceeds distributed back to American families, is also palatable to conservatives. Tillerson should have no problem selling that to Trump.

Edward Dignan, Long Beach

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook