13 AGs Side with Exxon, Fossil Fuel Companies in Climate Risk Investigations


by | Jun 20, 2016

ExxonMobilExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies have found allies in attorneys general from 13 states who have signed an open letter calling for an end to fraud investigations into these companies for their statements about climate change.

“We think this efforts by our colleagues to police the global warming debate through the power of the subpoena is a grave mistake,” the letter says. Attorneys general from Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Alaska, Nebraska, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and South Carolina signed the letter.

The letter follows investigations by several other state attorney generals including New York, Massachusetts and the US Virgin Islands, which have subpoenaed Exxon to find out whether Exxon lied to the public and investors about its business risks posed by climate change. Exxon has said the legal maneuvers are an assault on its constitutional rights and filed its own lawsuits against Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey and US Virgin Islands attorney general Claude Walker to stop these states’ investigations.

In their June 15 letter, the 13 attorneys general argue that climate change is a public policy — not legal — debate and say the investigations wrongly target only fossil fuel companies.

“It has been asserted that ‘fossil fuel companies’ may have funded nonprofits who minimized the risks of climate change,” the letter says. “Does anyone doubt that ‘clean energy’ companies have funded nonprofits who exaggerated the risks of climate change? Under the stated theory for fraud, consumers and investors could suffer harm from misstatements by all energy-market participants and the nonprofits they support.”

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