Energy & Environment

Dem backs state AGs in climate probes

Noel St. John

A House Democrat is coming to the defense of liberal state attorneys general in their climate change investigations and slamming Republicans for investigating the matter.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) called the investigation by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science Committee, a “fishing expedition disguised as oversight.”

{mosads}Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) was one of the subjects of Smith’s investigation, in which the congressman demanded documents from 17 attorneys general about their agreement to cooperate on certain climate change matters.

Only four of the attorneys are investigating whether Exxon Mobil Corp. committed fraud through its public statements on climate, but Smith nonetheless accused all of the AGs of trying to intimidate Exxon and other fossil fuel companies.

“Our state AG offices are well within their rights to investigate allegations that Exxon Mobil fraudulently concealed what they knew about the risks of climate change; in fact, it is their job,” wrote Beyer, a member of the Science Committee.

“The House Science Committee should endeavor to promote sound science,” he said. “Instead it continues to intimidate and denigrate scientists and others who seek to advance climate science over climate denial.”

In recent days, numerous recipients of Smith’s letter have declined to comply with his request.

Herring’s office said it processed Smith’s letter as a Freedom of Information request, and declined it on the grounds that Virginia does not grant those requests to out-of-state residents.

“With respect to the specific claims and allegations in your letter, I appreciate the challenge of drafting a blast correspondence to numerous parties,” Herring’s deputy Cynthia Hudson wrote Thursday.

“However, the correspondence received by this office, first by press release and then by mail several days later, contains numerous false claims that cannot go unaddressed,” she said, going on to change several of Smith’s statements in the letter.

Tags Climate change Don Beyer Lamar Smith

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