Attorneys general play thought police in war on Exxon

exxonIt’s not easy to make one of the world’s biggest fossil-fuel companies a sympathetic victim, but a collection of state attorneys general, led by Eric Schneiderman of New York, has managed it.

They have launched a campaign against Exxon Mobil that is a transparent — nay, an explicit — attempt to punish dissent on climate change. The members of the self-described “Green 20” are demonstrating a banana republic-worthy understanding of the law and their responsibilities. They shouldn’t be entrusted with the power of a meter maid, let alone a top position in law enforcement.

Schneiderman subpoenaed Exxon Mobil last year, in what purports to be a fraud investigation. The alleged offense is having less-alarmist views on global warming over the years than the green clerisy deems acceptable. How this would constitute fraud is unclear.

Investors would’ve found Exxon Mobil alluring even if the company had maintained that the planet was in danger of becoming uninhabitable, for no other reason than oil is a miraculously efficient source of energy that we aren’t close to replacing. Consumers would have filled their cars with Exxon Mobil’s product regardless, and surely only felt defrauded if the gasoline didn’t get them to work or to their kids’ soccer practice as advertised.

Usually, officials charged with law enforcement at least try to obscure their political motivations. Not the attorneys general who stood with Schneiderman at a saber-rattling press conference a few weeks ago. Dispensing with any pretense of disinterestedness, they dubbed themselves “AGs United for Clean Power.”

Al Gore appeared at the presser, not as a legal expert, but as a totem of the green left. Schneiderman said that President Obama’s climate agenda has been frustrated so he and his colleagues would work “creatively” and “aggressively” to advance it.

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