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Texas governor backs Exxon Mobil petition in climate case

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By Liz Hampton and Jennifer Hiller

(Reuters) - The governor of Texas in an unusual move on Thursday asked the state's Supreme Court to accept an Exxon Mobil Corp petition seeking to reverse a state court decision in a climate change case.

California municipal officials sued Exxon and other energy companies in 2017 seeking damages for rising sea levels they blamed on fossil fuel emissions, prompting a countersuit from the oil major in Texas. A Texas appeals court rejected Exxon's effort to depose California officials, leading to the oil company's state Supreme court petition.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a friend of the court filing urged the state justices to accept Exxon's petition in a case with "major implications for the energy industry in Texas."

Abbott, who as the state's attorney general sued the federal government 31 times, said the state appeals court decision contradicts federal rulings.

"No Texan voted for any of these meddling California officials," wrote Abbott, adding the officials "should mind their own business in California if they want to stay out of court in Texas."

Exxon declined to comment on the governor's letter.

The oil company has been a frequent target of lawsuits filed by U.S. states and cities that have turned to courts to address climate-change issues. It had asked a Texas court for permission to depose California officials to expose what it claimed was a conspiracy to stifle its free speech.

In the latest example of such lawsuits, New York City sued Exxon and others arguing they falsely sold gasoline as "cleaner" and advertised themselves as leaders in fighting climate change.

(Reporting by Liz Hampton and Jennifer Hiller in Houston; Editing by Matthew lewis)

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