Think tank vows to fight climate change subpoena

Think tank vows to fight climate change subpoena
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The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., says it has received a subpoena from the attorney general for the U.S. Virgin Islands related to its work on climate change.

The group, which “questions global warming alarmism” and opposes government climate regulations, according to the website, has vowed to “vigorously fight to quash this subpoena,” tied to a broader investigation into the climate science of fossil fuel interests. 

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“It is an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association for Attorney General [Claude] Walker to bring such intimidating demands against a nonprofit group,” CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman said in a statement. 

“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."

The CEI said the subpoena requests communications, emails, statements and other documents related to its climate work, as well as information about its donors, from between 1997 and 2007.

Walker joined a group of Democratic attorneys general last month pledging to work together on climate change issues, including an investigation into whether ExxonMobil Corp. lied to the public about what it knew about climate change. 

At the time, Walker hinted — but didn’t say outright — that he had joined the Exxon probe. 

“We have launched an investigation into a company that we believe must provide information to us about what they knew about climate change and when they knew it,” he said then.

Exxon is a former major funder of the CEI, providing nearly $1.7 million to the group between 1985 and 2014, according to reports. In 2006, Exxon told The Guardian it had stopped funding CEI that year.