A Maine lawmaker wants to protect people on both sides of the global warming debate from being prosecuted by the attorney’s general office or punished by state agencies.
Republican state Rep. Larry Lockman introduced legislation to “limit the attorney general’s ability to investigate or prosecute people based on their political speech, including their views on climate change” and “prohibit the state from discriminating in buying goods or services or awarding grants or contracts based” on “climate change policy preferences,” The Associated Press reported.
Lockman is clearly worried Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, could join an investigation being conducted by her colleagues in other states into ExxonMobil’s stance on global warming.
Mills is part of the “Green 20” group of Democratic attorneys general who may have signed a common interest agreement to share information regarding their campaign against Exxon.
New York AG Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey have active investigations into Exxon’s alleged misleading of shareholders on global warming. That effort has ensnared dozens of conservative think tanks, scientists and policy experts skeptical of man-made global warming.
“Sadly, climate skeptics may need special protections from wacky warmists’ attempts to silence and jail us,” Marc Morano, a global warming skeptic publisher of the website Climate Depot, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“RFK Jr., Bill Nye and others have called for jailing skeptics and even CBS News top anchor Scott Pelley has compared us to Holocaust deniers,” Morano said.
The AGs have received thousands of documents from Exxon, including communications from conservative groups that oppose Democratic policies. Documents released show the AGs worked behind the scenes with environmentalists in the quest to take down Exxon.
Lockman, however, wants to protect all people with opinions on global warming and prevent a Republican attorney general from conducting a similar investigation.
“I don’t want to see a Republican state attorney general issuing subpoenas for the records of progressive or liberal think tanks or public policy groups to chill their free speech,” Lockman told AP.
“It’s about Citizens United and the government abridging speech,” Lockman said. “It’s not about climate science. It’s about climate policy.”
Maine Democrats and environmentalists oppose Lockman’s bill, so it doesn’t have much hope of passing. Some environmentalists apparently want state prosecutors to be able to investigate “climate deniers.”
“Clearly an attempt to provide cover for climate deniers,” Dylan Voorhees, with the Natural Resources Council of Maine, told AP. “I see a trickle down from the Trump administration that has emboldened some folks to make climate denial statements.”
Increasingly, Democrats and environmentalists are agitating for investigations into energy companies they see as spreading “climate denial.”
The Democratic Party’s 2016 platform called for investigating “alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.”