Judge Declines to Dismiss Suit Against ExxonMobil

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A federal judge has declined to throw out a 2010 environmental lawsuit against ExxonMobil Corp. over emissions from its Baytown oil refinery.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner in Houston on Thursday adopted a magistrate's April 3 recommendation that the Sierra Club and Environment Texas lawsuit be allowed to proceed.

Hittner in 2011 also declined to dismiss the lawsuit that alleges the nation's largest refinery violated air pollution laws thousands of times since 2005.

Irving-based ExxonMobil didn't immediately comment Friday. The company previously denied the allegations and said emissions from its Baytown refinery were lower than limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Luke Metzger with Environment Texas says the ruling vindicates the rights of citizens to bring polluters to justice when state and federal agencies aren't getting the job done.