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United States v. Exxon Mobil Corp.

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20196
Nos. 18-55481, (9th Cir., 12/09/2019)

The Ninth Circuit reversed a district court order denying the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Board's petition to enforce subpoenas issued against an oil company following an explosion and chemical release at one of its refineries. The district court found that 29 of the subpoenas were enforceable, 26 were unenforceable, and one was enforceable in part. On appeal, the board challenged portions of five of the subpoenas that were denied, arguing that their requests for information and documents related to the facility's alkylation unit and the modified hydrofluoric acid stored there were relevant to its investigation of the explosion and chemical release. The appellate court found that each request sought material that could shed light on the Board's investigation, and therefore reversed the district court's ruling that the requests were unenforceable and remanded for further proceedings.