It’s hardly what you’d call an ideal situation: Mexican standoffs seldom are.
Be that as it may, conservative attorneys general are fighting back against ridiculous threats by their liberal peers to prosecute so-called “climate change deniers.” On Thursday a coalition of Republican AGs, headed up by Alabama’s top cop, Luther Strange, issued a letter promising retaliation in kind, directed at climate alarmists.
The catalyst for the letter was a speech last week by Democratic New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in which he detailed a 20-state investigation of Exxon and “climate change deniers.”
The letter, embedded below, reads in part:
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We all understand the need for a healthy environment, but we represent a wide range of viewpoints regarding the extent to which man contributes to climate change and the costs and benefits of any proposed fix. Nevertheless, we agree on at least one thing — this is not a question for the courts. Using law enforcement authority to resolve a public policy debate undermines the trust invested in our offices and threatens free speech.
We are concerned that our colleagues’ investigation undermines the trust the people have invested in Attorneys General to investigate fraud. Investigatory subpoenas were issued to at least one company and one non-profit believed to have made statements minimizing the risks of climate change. At the press conference, one of our colleagues noted that “we are pursuing this as we would any other fraud matter.” We routinely investigate fraud, and have done so with many of the states present at the press conference. But this investigation is far from routine. We are unaware of any fraud case combining the following three characteristics: 1) the investigation targets a particular type of market participant; 2) the Attorneys General identify themselves with the competitors of their investigative targets; and 3) the investigation implicates an ongoing public policy debate.
The letter goes on to make sound arguments in opposition to Schneiderman et al.’s high-handed tactics. It notes, for example, that “if it is possible to minimize the risks of climate change, then the same goes for exaggeration.”
The problem ultimately with fighting fire with fire is that everything ends up in ashes. Here’s hoping this shot across the bow will be sufficient to quiet Schneiderman and his fellow critics.
(h/t Jeff Dunetz, The Lid)