Lawmakers in California have incorrectly claimed the state’s former attorney general investigated ExxonMobil’s climate research.
Several lawmakers wrote a letter Monday to the newly-elected Attorney General Xavier Becerra asking him to “continue the state’s investigation into what ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies knew about the dangers of climate change.”
They went on to suggest the state’s former attorney general, Kamala Harris, added California to the list of states already crusading against the oil company.
“Under the leadership of then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, the State of California began an investigation into whether leading oil companies, in particular ExxonMobil and its predecessor companies, internally acknowledged the science of climate change decades ago yet covered up studies and worked to mislead the public about climate change’s dangers,” they wrote.
There’s a problem. Kamala Harris never engaged in any such investigation. In fact, the Democratic AG frequently responded with “no comment” whenever reporters asked her about any upcoming Exxon probes.
Attorneys general Eric Schneiderman of New York and Maura Healey of Massachusetts, for example, spearheaded the investigations into the company in 2016 based on reporting by liberal news outlets claiming the company “knew” of the dangers of global warming for decades while funding groups opposed to Democratic climate policies.
Calls for investigations started snowballing in November when environmental media outlet InsideClimate News (ICN) reported on the oil company’s 40 year-history of supposedly hiding information related to climate change. The reports kicked off a spree of attorney general-led investigations.
ICN, for its part, acknowledged that Kamala Harris never publicly admitted to targeting Exxon, despite having promoted the idea while making a failed bid for the Pulitzer Prize.
“Most recently, news reports confirm the California attorney general is also investigating Exxon,” the media outlet wrote in a cover letter hyping the report’s wide reach.
The Los Angeles Time also tried urging Becerra to take up the anti-Exxon cause and place an investigation on his “to do” list.
Whoever becomes California’s next attorney general will have to address the probes and allegations that Exxon lied to the public and investors at the seriousness of man-made global warming, the LA Times editorial board wrote in December prior to Becerra.
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