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Attorney General’s Climate Investigation Subpoenas CEI

The attorney general of the U. S. Virgin Islands, Claude E. Walker, has subpoenaed the Competitive Enterprise Institute for a stunningly wide array of documents from 1997 to 2007 related to our policy work on climate change.  The subpoena is part of the investigation of Exxon Mobil initiated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  AG Walker and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey are co-operating with the NY AG.  

Last week, I wrote about the press conference held by Schneiderman, Walker, Healey, four other state attorneys general, and former Vice President Al Gore to discuss their coalition of “AGs United for Clean Power” and noted that Schneiderman had said that the investigation of Exxon Mobil would eventually be broadened to include other fossil energy companies “and their allies.”  Little did I think that the investigation would reach the allies within a week and that CEI would be the first target.

As CEI stated in a press release, “This is the latest effort in an intimidation campaign to criminalize speech and research on the climate debate.  CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman went on to say, “CEI will vigorously fight to quash this subpoena. It is an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association for Attorney General Walker to bring such intimidating demands against a nonprofit group.  If Walker and his allies succeed, the real victims will be all Americans, whose access to affordable energy will be hit by one costly regulation after another, while scientific and policy debates are wiped out one subpoena at a time.”

My view is that the global warming alarmists cannot win the climate science debate or the energy policy debate on the facts, but the unscrupulous among them are determined to win the debate by any means necessary.  And so they are using the legal powers of the state to silence and bankrupt their opponents.      

CEI’s press release links to a copy of the subpoena.  A number of news articles and commentaries have already been published, including: Michael Bastasch on the Daily Caller; Valerie Richardson in the Washington Times; Walter Olson on Overlawyered; Scott H. Greenfield on Simple Justice; and, on the other side (but with a nice photo of Sam Kazman), John H. Cushman, Jr. on Inside Climate News.