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Dem AG Backs Down in Exxon Climate Fight

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A group of Democratic attorneys general have suffered another blow in their bid to find oil-giant Exxon Mobil guilty of fraud in a highly-politicized climate change investigation.

A court document issued Wednesday evening says Claude Walker, attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, has agreed to withdraw his subpoena demanding documents and emails from the oil company related to its discussion of the risks posed by climate change.

Walker is part of a group of 17 state attorneys general who said they would use their prosecutorial powers as law enforcement officials to go after those that have sought to cover up the evidence of climate change that is placing the public at risk.

The AGs based their investigations on a series of articles published by Inside Climate News, the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets that reported the company had covered up findings by Exxon's own scientists that showed manmade climate change was warming the Earth and creating risks for the company. The company adamantly denies the charges, and is asking several courts to level injunctions against the AGs for violating the company's rights under the Constitution.

On Wednesday, Exxon agreed to stand down its legal action given Walker's agreement to withdraw his subpoena.

This is the second time Walker was forced to withdraw a subpoena in the climate fight. Walker had gone after the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute a few months ago for its ties to the oil company. The think tank responded with threats of sanctions and Walker withdrew.

Despite the withdrawal, CEI is still pressing for the D.C. Superior Court to take action and apply sanctions against Walker. The superior court heard the group's legal case at a hearing on Tuesday. The think tank says the judge is reviewing their request and a decision could come soon.

"Walker's subpoenas are a flagrant violation of the First Amendment, and the clear conclusion to draw following his withdrawal of the ExxonMobil subpoena is that these subpoenas were a baseless fishing expedition from the beginning," said CEI President Kent Lassman in a statement.

"All Americans have the right to support causes they believe in and the CEI subpoena is an abuse of the legal system and an effort to intimidate and silence individuals who disagree with certain attorneys general on the climate debate. Disagreeing with a government official is not a crime; abusing government power to take away Americans' rights is.​"

Originally posted at Washington Examiner.