Representative Lamar Smith, the current chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, subpoenaed the New York’s general attorney. In order to disclose information about the current investigation about Exxon’s role in the climate-change denial.
This is not the first time The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology reinforces the denial of climate change, considering it a phenomenon that is mostly made up to harm the modern scientific research that is being executed for big companies in the world. For the chair, the majority of exploring activities in the environment are the example of good science and the inquiries made by “green movements” are trying to mislead the public, to turn them against fossil fuel companies and energy-related producing giants.
The Investigation #ExxonKnew
The investigation led by the New York Attorney General started with the accusations on the oil company, Exxon, made by different environmental groups. The legal request involved the presentation of the extensive financial records, emails and other documents where there could be proof that Exxon had information on the relationship between its products and global warming in an early-stage (maybe in the 1970s) and allegedly it was not shared. In that sense, the actions of Exxon could be interpreted as an intentional mislead of the public and a cover-up to relevant information on risks caused by climate change produced by the characteristics in its products.
Some groups of environmental activists accused Exxon of funding groups that spread the climate denial ideology and the investigation apparently found some evidence of payments to politicians and pressure groups to deny and contrast the climate science. However, if this is going to be seen as the Attorney General as a fraud case it is still unknown.
Exxon responded that all accusations were unfounded and inaccurate. According to Exxon’s spokesmen, the history of climate research in the company was conducted publicly, with the work of several academics and with transparency standards that can be checked by the general public and the authorities.
However, the company is under investigations to determine if fraud were committed. Transparency in security, business and consumer’s rights are some of the areas the Attorney General is evaluating. The company’s stakeholders may seem the first harmed with the results of the ongoing investigation, if some kind of fraud is found.
The House Committee on rejecting the investigation
Mr. Smith, the chair, called the investigation a political theater that is being executed only to harm a succesful company with an inaccurate scientific discourse. The representative stated that the enviromental claim is exagerated and false, since climate change is not the phenomena the “green groups” are trying to make people believe.
According to this representative, the research centers on environmental issues are altering data to create a funded version of the industries that actually are creating the future with good science. In that sense, he considers this type of investigations have a serious effect in science, since there is a trend to inquire about scientific progress in order to make it stop.
The representatives considered this type of investigations an abuse of power against companies, since all american have the right to support causes they believe in, and this includes the possibility to stand behind companies driven to scientific progress, including energy-related industries.
In this order, the representatives of the House Committe then decided to sent letters to State’s offices that were pursuing investigations in the same keynote as the one being executed in New York.
Letters to the ‘Green 20’
A group of State’s Attorneys Generals, including the New York proclaimed themselves as the “Green 20”, stating that they would conduct their offices aligned with eco-friendly justice and cooperate on an unprecedented effort to react to conducts and actions that generate harm on the environment, rejecting the trend to deny the climate change. The “Green 20” Attorneys have ongoing investigations on Exxon and other oil companies.
This is a very bolt move on climate fight, since this is the first time that a multi-state effort is given structure in order to prosecute agents linked to climate science, to attack global warming in a legal perspective. Facts, good science and transparency in the research are the goals in this group.
— Rex Darwin (@rex_darwin) February 14, 2016
The House Committee rejected this group and sent letters to 17 different State’s Attorneys, compelling them to refrain from work against “those who have questioned the causes, magnitude, or best ways to address climate change.” According to the representatives on the Committee, this structure in the Attorney General’s Office is linked with a violation of free speech “based on political theater rather than legal or scientific arguments.” The perspective of the Committee is that there is an intention to demonize some industries, like the Fossil Fuel
The perspective of the Committee: There are some intentions, disseminated by extremist environmental groups to demonize some industries, like the Fossil Fuel Industry, motivated on political differences. On the other hand, the Green 20 Attorneys and several environmental groups have stated that the goal is to held accountable the companies that are involved in the detection of climate change as a risky phenomenon. The legal authorities must represent the interest of the people and not companies, according to Eric Soufer, a spokesman for the New York’s Attorney General. As a response to the letter sent by the House Committee, he stated:
“The irony of this letter is breathtaking, as its signatories appear to be part of a multi-pronged media campaign funded by the fossil fuel industry aimed at suppressing the free exchange of ideas among scientists, academics, and responsible law enforcement. It is remarkable that a do-nothing Congress that has refused to take any action on climate change is now attempting to disrupt this important investigation into potential corporate malfeasance. New York will continue to work with and collaborate with its colleagues across the country, and those with expertise in this area, to protect its citizens from fraud.”