From Blue Virginia: (video follows)
Unprecedented Coalition Vows To Defend Climate Change Progress Made Under President Obama And To Push The Next President For Even More Aggressive Action
NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined Attorneys General from across the nation to announce an unprecedented coalition of top law enforcement officials committed to aggressively protecting and building upon the recent progress the United States has made in combatting climate change.
Attorneys General Schneiderman, William Sorrell of Vermont, George Jepsen of Connecticut, Brian E. Frosh of Maryland, Maura Healey of Massachusetts, Mark Herring of Virginia, and Claude Walker of the US Virgin Islands were joined by former Vice President Al Gore for the announcement in New York City. Today’s announcement took place during a one-day Attorneys General climate change conference, co-sponsored by Schneiderman and Sorrell.
The participating states are exploring working together on key climate change-related initiatives, such as ongoing and potential investigations into whether fossil fuel companies misled investors and the public on the impact of climate change on their businesses. In 2015, New York State reached a historic settlement with Peabody Energy – the world’s largest publicly traded coal company – concerning the company’s misleading financial statements and disclosures. New York is also investigating ExxonMobil for similar alleged conduct.
“We cannot continue to allow the fossil fuel industry or any industry to treat our atmosphere like an open sewer or mislead the public about the impact they have on the health of our people and the health of our planet. Attorneys General and law enforcement officials around the country have long held a vital role in ensuring that the progress we have made to solve the climate crisis is not only protected, but advanced. The first-of-its-kind coalition announced today is another key step on the path to a sustainable, clean-energy future,” said Vice President Al Gore.
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell said, “We are happy to have worked closely with New York to organize this meeting. As we all know, global warming, if not reversed, will be catastrophic for our planet. We, the states, have a role to play in this endeavor and intend to do our part.”
Full story here
UPDATE: all is not well in Goreville
Democratic Attorneys General Refuse to Join Rockefeller-Backed Climate Investigation
3:03pm EDT March 29, 2016
by Steve Everley
firstname.lastname@example.org , Dallas, Tex.
A press conference today featuring Al Gore and more than a dozen state attorneys general was expected to reveal new state-level investigations of U.S. energy companies regarding climate change. But the vast majority of AGs standing on stage refused to join such an effort, signaling a lack of interest in wasting their own states’ resources.
Last year, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he had launched an investigation into fossil fuel companies regarding what the New York Times called “possible climate change lies.” The investigation was based entirely on a series of controversial articles written by researchers at the Columbia School of Journalism and InsideClimate News, which selectively pulled statements from company documents to suggest Exxon Mobil’s public policy advocacy was inconsistent with its own research.
Unsurprisingly, environmental activists embraced the articles, and even began an online campaign – complete with the hash tag #ExxonKnew on Twitter – to pressure state and federal officials to launch investigations into so-called “climate denial.” To date, they have succeeded in convincing Schneiderman as well as the attorneys general for California and Massachusetts.
But Democratic attorneys general from New Mexico, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, Maine, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, and Vermont – all of whom stood on the stage next to Al Gore today – refused to announce that they would be launching their own investigations. In fact, reporters covering the event struggled to find much of anything new in what the officials were promising. The Huffington Post even conceded that the AGs “were vague on what exactly they have planned.”
Editorial boards across the country have criticized the #ExxonKnew campaign as an attempt to “stamp out all disagreement,” while also worrying about the legal precedent of pursuing “criminal penalties over those involved in a scientific debate.” An editorial from Bloomberg News called Schneiderman’s investigation a “dangerous arrogation of power.”
Legal experts have also questioned the merits of New York’s investigation. John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University, told the New York Times that a “leading obstacle [to a conviction] would be the First Amendment, as climate change is a matter of robust public debate.”
Paying for Media, Policy Outcomes
Although Schneiderman’s office contends the investigation is based on allegations of “fraud,” one of the groups who funded the research underpinning Schneiderman’s investigation – the Rockefeller Family Fund – admitted last week that their funding of non-profit news entities, including Columbia and InsideClimate News, was geared toward achieving “better climate policy.”
Joined by Attorneys General from six states, former Vice President Al Gore announces the formation of an ‘historic coalition’ to investigate “commercial interests that have been… deceiving the American people” about the reality of the “climate crisis and the dangers it poses to all of us”.
Gore announces coalition of Dem AGs to investigate climate denial: ‘They are violating the law’