California lawmakers are preparing to vote on legislation that would allow state prosecutors to go after businesses and organizations promoting skepticism of man-made global warming.
The bill, called the California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016, has cleared two state Senate committees and is on its way to broader consideration by legislators Thursday.
“This bill explicitly authorizes district attorneys and the Attorney General to pursue UCL claims alleging that a business or organization has directly or indirectly engaged in unfair competition with respect to scientific evidence regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of anthropogenic induced climate change,” according the state Senate Rules Committee’s analysis of the bill reported by The Washington Times.
The bill, introduced by Democratic state Sen. Ben Allen, makes questioning global warming a violation of the state’s Unfair Competition Act, and it would retroactively extend the statute of limitations on being prosecuted for climate hearsay from four years to 30 years.
“Given the environmental, health, and economic impacts that Californians are already paying for as a result of the fossil fuel industry’s many years of public deception and their efforts to block action on climate change, it is important to hold the industry responsible,” Allen’s office wrote in the bill’s summary.
Allen’s bill would make it easier for state and local prosecutors to join an ongoing investigation into ExxonMobil’s global warming stance. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is currently investigating Exxon for allegedly misleading shareholders about the risks of global warming.
Harris’s investigation is inspired by reports from InsideClimate News and Columbia University claiming the company knew of the risks of global warming for decades, but funded groups skeptical of warming and opposed regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.
New York, Massachusetts and the U.S. Virgin Islands have also launched investigations into Exxon’s global warming stance based on liberal media reports, which conveniently were published after Democratic lawmakers called for prosecuting global warming skeptics under a federal anti-racketeering law.
Allen’s bill claims there’s no disagreement among scientists about the causes of global warming, therefore anyone who disagrees should be prosecuted.
Environmentalists have been thrilled with investigations into global warming skeptics, which has ensnared Exxon along with dozens of conservative think tanks, policy experts and scientists who disagree with Democrats on global warming science.
But Republican lawmakers and prosecutors have pushed back against Democrat efforts to silence skeptics. GOP congressmen recently sent a letter to 20 state attorneys general and environmental groups demanding records on their involvement in prosecuting skeptics.
“On March 29, 2016, you and other state attorneys general – the self-proclaimed ‘Green 20’ – announced that you were cooperating on an unprecedented effort against those who have questioned the causes, magnitude, or best ways to address climate change,” said Republicans on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, led by Texas Rep. Lamar Smith.
State attorneys general and eco-activists have, rather ironically, refused to comply on the grounds it violates their constitutional rights.
“The right to petition government and to disagree with certain government officials is a core value protected by the First Amendment,” lawyers for the group 350.org wrote in their response to Smith.
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