US Chamber Of Commerce Official Says Fossil Fuel Witch Hunt ‘Un-American’

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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The investigations leveled against oil companies such as ExxonMobil are nothing short of “un-American,” according to one U.S. Chamber of Commerce official.

“The idea that a group of attorneys general can get together and decide to collaborate and corroborate, to persecute not just a single company now but an industry, because they are ideologically opposed to the product it produces, is un-American,” Karen Harbert, president of Institute for 21st Century Energy, said Wednesday.

“It is a threat to the free enterprise system; it is a threat to the rule of law on which the free enterprise system depends,” Harbert added. “And we’re not going or stand for it.”

Harbert is referencing a September investigation of ExxonMobil conducted by InsideClimate News and others. The investigation concluded Exxon had been allegedly untruthful about the breadth of knowledge it had concerning global warming.

InsideClimate News also pointed at producers such as Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, suggesting they also misled the public about the supposed effects global warming has on sea levels.

Harbert took exception to the comments made by a slew of attorneys general gathered at a press conference Tuesday bemoaning what they see as the “fraud” and illegal actions made by companies such as ExxonMobil.

The group of global warming-fighting litigators is led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who all but called fossil fuel companies fraudsters.

“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.”

New York has prohibited hydraulic fracturing. Schneiderman has also issued investigations into ExxonMobil’s actions or inactions regarding its knowledge of sea levels and global warming.

Harbert, for her part, warned at a press conference during a Montana energy conference the attorneys general’s actions set a bad precedent for the future.

“It could be the utilities, it could be the pharmaceuticals, you name it. Everybody will be on the block,” Harbert said. She went on to explain people can now “use the power of government and law enforcement to come after you,” which, she noted further, “will provide a very chilling effect on investment in this country.”

“If it’s Exxon Mobil today, it will be the energy industry as a whole tomorrow,” she said.

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