A small number of attorneys general gathered at a press conference Tuesday to bemoan what they see as the “fraud” and unlawful actions perpetrated by fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil.
The attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, castigated oil producers for misleading the public and shareholders about what they knew about global warming and sea levels.
“We know because of what is already out there, there are companies using the best climate models, they know how much the sea levels are rising,” Schneiderman said. “They know all these things. Yet they have told the public that there are no effective climate models to determine the sea levels.”
The First Amendment does not protect Exxon’s actions, Schneiderman said.
“The First Amendment does not give you the right to commit fraud. We are pursuing the fossil fuel companies as if they have committed fraud,” Schneiderman noted.
The attorneys’ general criticisms come as a result of a September investigation of ExxonMobil conducted by InsideClimate News and others. The investigation found that Exxon had allegedly played fast and loose with information concerning global warming.
InsideClimate News also alleges that Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, and others joined ExxonMobil, in misleading the public about the supposed effects global warming has on sea levels.
Former Vice President Al Gore, who joined the cavalcade of judges on the stage, mirrored Schneiderman’s comments, saying if “these companies did violate the law in committing fraud, then they should be held to account.”
He added the best way to fix the fossil fuel companies’ malfeasance is if the Congress allows the executive branch and the Obama administration to work. “The lawbreakers can be dealt with at the federal level.”
One of the best ways to deal with reducing carbon emissions, he added, is to bring to heel those companies that act unlawfully.
Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, joined Schneiderman and Gore on stage. While Healey also lambasted fossil fuel companies for their supposed illegalities, she noted also that attorney generals have a particular role to play in fighting so-called man-made global warming.
“There is nothing we need to worry about more than climate change,” Healey said. “Nothing is more important, not drug abuse, not crimes against property. Nothing. Climate change is a matter of extreme urgency,” she added.
Energy insiders were not enamored by the attorneys’ general comments, telling The Daily Caller News Foundation in a press statement that the conference’s participants were relying on “cherry-picked” research to direct their excoriations.
“I think the two big headlines coming out of this are that this entire issue continues to be based on a horrendously reported series of stories that rely on cherry-picked statements at every turn,” Katie Brown, a spokesperson for energy research website Energy In Depth, said in a press statement on Tuesday.
She went on to say the attorneys general, as well as Gore, do not seem to care about wasting the money and resources of tax payers, in the same way that Schneiderman has in New York.
New York has prohibited hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, inside its boarders. The state has also issued investigations into ExxonMobil’s actions or inactions regarding their knowledge of sea levels and global warming.
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