Texas attorney general calling for end to Virgin Islands' Exxon probe

By Andrew Restuccia

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is calling for a halt to the U.S. Virgin Islands’ investigation into ExxonMobil.

Paxton is slated to hold a press conference this afternoon to discuss his request “to put an end” to Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker’s probe into the company over whether it suppressed internal research about the threat of climate change. Walker has issued subpoenas to Exxon and at least two other groups with ties to the company: the Competitive Enterprise Institute and DCI Group. In addition, Walker’s Exxon subpoena requests communications between Exxon and more than 100 right-leaning and free-market groups, climate skeptics, academics and others.

Exxon, CEI and its allies have strongly objected to the subpoenas, arguing that they amount to a fishing expedition. Exxon is separately complying with a separate subpoena from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who requested climate change-related documents under his state’s powerful financial fraud law.

POLITICO reported earlier this month that at least one industry lobbyist has privately urged red-state attorneys general to launch counter-investigations into the Democratic AGs and their allies in the environmental movement.

Spokespeople for Walker and Paxton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Tom Halla
May 16, 2016 9:55 am

Paxton should file civil rights charges against the green AG’s for violating the rights of Texas residents.

May 16, 2016 9:58 am

I think Shukla and the other RICO20 geniuses would love it if the whole thing just went away.

Reply to  Colorado Wellington
May 16, 2016 12:22 pm

Good news, it isn’t. Rep. Smith’s congressional oversight committee investigated,mdetermined both the double dipping and the violation of GMU moonlighting rules, and refered both matters to the NSF for appropriate legal action, with an admonition to keep the committee informed of progress. The double dipping can result in criminal prosecution. The GMU violations, dunno.
In addition E&ELS got Maibach’s emails. That could lead to suing all RICO-20 under the civil rights act 42USC1983 and/or 1985.

May 16, 2016 9:59 am

This is going to get interesting.

Bryan A
May 16, 2016 10:04 am

All remaining 34 states AG’s should file suit together against the 16 AG’s and remaining RICO 20 involved persons for 1st amendment rights violations

Lance Wallace
May 16, 2016 10:06 am

The links take you to something called Politico.Pro to which you must subscribe.

May 16, 2016 10:11 am

What precisely is meant by “suppressing” internal research?
A company like Exxon produces tens of thousands of reports a year. Most are for internal use and are not publicized. Is the Virgin Island AG saying that Exxon had a duty to publicize these particular reports?

Ben of Houston
Reply to  rabbit
May 16, 2016 11:06 am

Effectively, yes. That’s the issue. The more you look at it the less sense it makes. They are realistically approaching it as a public safety issue. For example, if you made cars and they exploded randomly, then internal research showing that you knew they had a safety flaw would be evidence of criminal negligence. paying people to hide that would be a RICO violation.
However, none of that applies to this case, as the majority of research was performed outside of Exxon’s walls, public knowledge was extremely high, and there is valid question about every aspect of the question (including magnitude, effects, and what, if anything, can be done about it that isn’t worse than climate change itself). Since they are debating conclusions, not data, there just isn’t anything that could be prosecuted, even if they were correct on every accusation and suspicion.

Reply to  rabbit
May 16, 2016 11:06 am

rabbit May 16, 2016 at 10:11 am
A company like Exxon produces tens of thousands of reports a year. Most are for internal use and are not publicized. Is the Virgin Island AG saying that Exxon had a duty to publicize these particular reports?
Did tobacco companies have a duty to publish/infor the populace about addiction to nicotine. Or were the correct in stating there is no addiction?

ken h
Reply to  sergeiMK
May 16, 2016 11:24 am

What does nicotine addiction have to do with the theory of runaway man-made climate change?
Oh right…absolutely nothing!!

Ben of Houston
Reply to  sergeiMK
May 16, 2016 11:42 am

False equivalence, Sergei. In that case, the evidence was unambiguous. A pack-a-day smoker was 20 times more likely to get lung cancer than a non-smoker. The damage from this effect is self-evident, and the solution (don’t smoke) is simple. The data from these studies was also available solely to the tobacco companies and actively hidden. It’s equivalent to the aforementioned exploding car.
To compare, with Exxon, the evidence is much more controversial and open to interpretation (especially where the damage from 1-2C of warming and the benefits of fossil fuel combustion outweighing these damages). Also, the IPCC has existed for over 20 years now. Claiming that Exxon had exclusive access to information on climate change is patently absurd.

Bryan A
Reply to  sergeiMK
May 16, 2016 12:22 pm

Anyone who needs to question the addictive properties if Nicotine either
A) Doesn’t smoke and never did.
B) Doesn’t know anyone that does smoke.
C) But if they do smoke, has never experienced a Nicotine Fit (A Nic. Fit is the symptom of Withdrawal from Nicotine Addiction)
If you’ve ever woke up in the morning and didn’t have any cigarettes on your night stand to start your day, you probably ran down to the corner convenience store and bought a pack before showering. Or had a lousy morning. If so, You are an addict.
Now Fossil Fuel burning is just as or even more deadly but you need to sit in your living room with your lips wrapped around the tail pipe and breathing in the exhaust to have this effect.

Reply to  sergeiMK
May 16, 2016 12:50 pm

“duhh tobacco”
Do you just fall over for no reason often?

Chris Hanley
Reply to  sergeiMK
May 16, 2016 2:28 pm

“Now Fossil Fuel burning is just as or even more deadly but you need to sit in your living room with your lips wrapped around the tail pipe and breathing in the exhaust to have this effect. …” Bryan A at 12:22 pm.
The carbon monoxide (toxic) will kill you long before the carbon dioxide (non-toxic) would have any effect.

Bryan A
Reply to  sergeiMK
May 16, 2016 3:15 pm

But the Carbon Monoxide will eliminate you as a constant source of Carbon Dioxide
The CO will also kill you long before you develop Lung Cancer too

Reply to  sergeiMK
May 16, 2016 4:25 pm

Ben – “Claiming that Exxon had exclusive access to information on climate change is patently absurd.”
A surprising number, possibly the majority, of warmists that I have argued with over the years, really believe that Deniers and/or the Oil Companies have the proof the climate scientists need. Shukla’s writings indicate that he believes it too..

Reply to  sergeiMK
May 17, 2016 10:47 am

catalytic converters and other improvements have all but eliminated CO from car exhausts.

Reply to  rabbit
May 16, 2016 4:43 pm

Is the Virgin Island AG saying that Exxon had a duty to publicize these particular reports?
I think it’s the politicians that should be wearing 24 hour/day body cams linked in real time via the cell network to the cloud and publicly-viewable monitors. “Going dark” would invoke the shock collar. Oh, I forgot to mention the shock collar part.

Reply to  PiperPaul
May 17, 2016 10:49 am

I remember a short story from way back about a country in which politicians wore explosive collars that would kill them, but not harm anyone else.
All citizens had the ability to call a special number, which would cause the collars to explode. The only catch was that the citizen who called in had to replace the now exploded politician.

Mark from the Midwest
May 16, 2016 10:22 am

Walker is a professional activist, not a real attorney. Walker has a “sewer” of an office, with a history of corruption and mismanagement, backed by a territory that has financial circumstance similar to Puerto Rico.
Paxton has a well organized and very professional staff, with some serious specialists and the backing of the State of Texas.
As TA says … “this is going to get interesting.”

May 16, 2016 12:08 pm

“Walker’s Exxon subpoena requests communications between Exxon and more than 100 right-leaning and free-market groups, climate skeptics, academics and others.”
Others?? Does that mean all of us that are reportedly on Exxon’s payroll because we deny the alarmist agenda? Better shred those imaginary pay stubs and right quick!
Agree with TA, this should get interesting…..

William Grubel
Reply to  Jenn Runion
May 16, 2016 12:40 pm

I don’t want to shred anything. I just want the paycheck.

Reply to  William Grubel
May 16, 2016 7:05 pm

If you check the tracking number, William, your check is scheduled to arrive on the 12th of Never. Mine is scheduled to arrive on the 15th. You won’t receive your check three whole days earlier than I won’t receive mine.
Feel better now? ;o)
(Dang it! I knew no good would come of UPS Quantum delivery notification.)

Reply to  Jenn Runion
May 17, 2016 10:50 am

I’m pretty sure that the shredding of imaginary pay stubs would be an EPA violation.

May 16, 2016 12:33 pm

Walker may have delusions of becoming a renowned climate change ‘enforcer’, defending the medieval orthodoxy against all the perceived heretics. He is following in the footsteps of Tomás de Torquemada.
Apparently he never learned that the Spanish Inquisition was ultimately a failure, providing a rallying point for the Protestant Reformation and the Renaissance.

Science or Fiction
May 16, 2016 12:43 pm

This is just like in the old days in the wild west, 1 good guy up against 20 bad guys.

Johann Wundersamer
May 16, 2016 1:18 pm

So it’s TX AG Paxton for real world economy
vs. NY AG Schneiderman for computer modeld hot air.
‘this is going to get interesting’, thanks TA.

May 16, 2016 1:46 pm

Don’t mess with the great independent nation of Texas folks.

May 16, 2016 2:39 pm

Virgin Islands sea level is up at the rate of 0.82 foot per century. So if you add an inch of topsoil every 10 years the land will actually rise in relation to the sea. Topsoil contains carbon from the air.
Mean Sea Level Trend
Interannual Variation
Average Seasonal Cycle
Variation Of 50-Year
MSL Trends
Previous MSL Trends
Mean Sea Level Trend
9751401 Lime Tree Bay, Virgin Islands
The mean sea level trend is 2.49 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence
interval of +/- 0.81 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from
1977 to 2015 which is equivalent to a change of 0.82 feet in 100 years.
The plot shows the monthly mean sea level without the regular seasonal fluctuations due to coastal ocean temperatures, salinities, winds, atmospheric pressures, and ocean currents. The long-term linear trend is also shown, including its 95% confidence interval. The plotted values are relative to the most recent Mean Sea Level datum established by CO-OPS. The calculated trends for all stations are available as a table in millimeters/year and in feet/century (0.3 meters = 1 foot).
If present, solid vertical lines indicate times of any major earthquakes in the vicinity of the station and dashed vertical lines bracket any periods of questionable data or datum shift.

Ian H
Reply to  Tobyw
May 16, 2016 3:11 pm

When Hanson famously said that climate change would submerge the highway outside his office I couldn’t help noting that all they need to do to keep ahead of it is to not chip the old blacktop whenever they renew the highway surface.

Reply to  Ian H
May 17, 2016 2:30 am

That guy Josh should do a cartoon of Hansen dressed as Homer Simpson, getting out into a rowboat with Angry Bird Michael Mann on his shoulder, with some kind of snarky remark about needing some global cooling before the heat from the road burned the bottom out of Hansen’s rowboat as it was pulled away by a truck.
There used to be videos on Youtube of Hansen’s old supervisor taking him to task, sitting him down, and shutting him up about his fake research, in front of a chalkboard.
Looked for it briefly but not too hard recently but didn’t find it. Hansen’s supervisor was taking Hansen to task for taking the compression out of gas mechanics and inserting fake ”green house gas warming.”

May 16, 2016 6:16 pm

I don’t think there was legitimate RICO case against tobacco companies but there is much less of a case here. At least there were people who died from smoking, but they really should have known that smoking isn’t healthy. There are no victims of climate change.

Reply to  Tom Trevor
May 17, 2016 10:53 am

I’ve read reports going all the way back to the early 1800’s of doctors telling their patients about the dangers of tobacco smoking.
To claim that only the tobacco companies knew of the dangers is absurdity on stilts.

May 16, 2016 7:51 pm

AG depts should eschew all petroleum products until this is resolved. Anything less would be like cavorting with racketeers. Stand on principle, AGs!!

May 17, 2016 9:20 am

The Exxon case is not analogous to tobacco. With tobacco, the issue was product liability (or rather breach of duty owed) — whether the product performed as expected. The allegation was that the tobacco companies said it was safe, when in fact it was dead.
Gasoline, as far as I can tell is behaving exactly as advertised. If Gasoline destroyed cars and Exxon said it did not, then it would be analogous to tobacco. But there is no product failure. The product is doing what it is supposed to do.
The issue is whether using the non-defective product, as it is intended, might someday cause unknown harm to the entire globe, but not in a way that one would allow anyone to trace damage to Exxon products vs. Citgo, or venezuelan, or saudi arabian products. And in fact, making gasoline is not the proximate cause of the damage. Burning it is.
So this is a property damage claim, the proximate cause of which is people burning gasoline. So, did the people who burned the gasoline know, or should they have known that they were causing damage. If yes, then they are the liable tortfeasor. If the property damage was a house burned down because someone lit gasoline on fire inside it , it would be much clearer. but it is a similar fact set. We would not sue exxon because someone burned his house down with gasoline.
We need to stop this ridiculous false comparison between cigarette manufacturers and gasoline refiners. apples and oranges.

Reply to  Beaumont Vance
May 17, 2016 10:53 am

“If Gasoline destroyed cars ”
LIke the E85 fuels?

May 18, 2016 10:31 am

“Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is calling for a halt to the U.S. Virgin Islands’ investigation into ExxonMobil.”
Is it just me, or would an Attorney General of TEXAS be stupid enough to attempt to diminish his own states foremost industry on an environmental whim based on fraudulent science promoting political correctness ,most particularly as his position depends on the votes of the citizens of that state?

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