A prominent constitutional lawyer has fired back against Democratic attorneys general pledging to investigate oil, coal and gas companies for not being alarmist enough about how global warming will impact their finances.
“We should all be concerned when state prosecutors announce that they will be targeting Americans for their views on controversial issues like climate change,” David Rivkin, Jr., a constitutional litigator who served in former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush’s administrations, said in an emailed statement.
Rivkin was reacting to a pledge made by more than a dozen attorneys general from Democratic states calling for “aggressively protecting and building upon the recent progress” made by the Obama administration on global warming, including the embattled Clean Power Plan.
Democratic AGs are also “working together on key climate change-related initiatives, such as ongoing and potential investigations into whether fossil fuel companies misled investors and the public on the impact of climate change on their businesses,” according to a press release from the New York AG’s office.
New York AG Eric Schneiderman has already launched investigations into Peabody Energy, a coal company, and ExxonMobil, an oil company, over alleged misrepresentations of how these companies disclose the risks of global warming to their shareholders.
Now, the AGs of California, Massachusetts and the U.S. Virgin Islands have launched probes into how Exxon handled disclosing potential global warming risks of their operations to shareholders. All of these investigations are based on news reports from journalists funded by a left-wing nonprofit bent on getting institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies.
Reports by InsideClimate News and Columbia University claim Exxon knew of the dangers of global warming before it was well understood by other scientists, hid that knowledge from the public and then funded groups opposed to environmental regulations.
Rivkin says the charges against Exxon — and the fossil fuel industry in general — are part of an effort to silence those opposed to government regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions.