Republicans on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology sent another round of letters to Democratic state attorneys general investigating global warming skeptics, demanding documents and saying such efforts could “chill scientific research.”
“The Committee intends to continue its vigorous oversight of the coordinated attempt to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, and scientists of their First Amendment rights and ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and threats of prosecution,” 17 lawmakers wrote in letters to 17 AGs targeting skeptics.
Lawmakers rebuffed criticisms from the AGs, collectively known as the “Green 20,” who questioned the House science committee’s authority to conduct oversight of this issue and demand documents.
Republicans, led by Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, doubled down on their requests for documents, again asking for any communications between AGs and environmental activists who have been working behind the scenes to target conservative think tanks with suspected ties to ExxonMobil.
The committee’s letter-writing campaign comes after Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a member of the Green 20, issued a subpoena for 40 years of internal company documents and communications with a handful of think tanks.
Healey’s subpoena to Exxon is the latest in a multi-state effort among liberal attorneys general to investigate the company for allegedly trying to cover up global warming science.
Healey charges that the oil giant lied to shareholders and consumers about the risks of global warming in its communications and shareholder filings based on reporting by left-wing journalists with InsideClimate News and Columbia University.
Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker subpoenaed Exxon for records regarding dozens of conservative think tanks, policy experts and scientists in March, following the example of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who launched an investigation into Exxon’s global warming stance in November.
Schneiderman hosted a conference in March with other AGs, including Healey and Walker, where it was announced that more prosecutors would probe Exxon and fight back against Republican attacks on federal environmental regulations. The AGs involved called themselves the Green 20.
This marks the second time House Republicans attempted to compel AGs to produce documents related to their investigations into global warming skeptics with ties to Exxon. Some Republican AGs have also pushed back, most recently sending a letter to their liberal counterparts, warning them that if skeptics can be investigated for misinterpreting global warming, alarmists can be as well.
“If it is possible to minimize the risks of climate change, then the same goes for exaggeration,” Republican AGs wrote. “If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud.”
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