BUSTED: State climate lawsuits are all about ignoring legislature to get cash stream

From Government Accountability & Oversight

Transparency Group Provides Federal Court of Appeals with Records Proving State “Climate” Lawsuit is to Obtain “Sustainable Funding Stream”, After Failing to Convince Legislature to Fund its Priorities

BOSTON, MA, March 10, 2020 – The Transparency group Energy Policy Advocates (“EPA”) yesterday filed a motion with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to appear as a friend of the court, to provide information showing the July 2018 “climate nuisance” lawsuit filed by the State of Rhode Island belongs in federal court — and should be dismissed therefrom. Matthew Hardin, who represents GAO in numerous lawsuits, filed on EPA’s behalf.

In the memo accompanying its motion, EPA revealed to the Court notes, obtained under a state open records law, recording a damning confession by a senior State of Rhode Island official that the objective of this litigation is in fact a “sustainable funding stream” for the State’s spending ambitions, because the voters’ elected representatives don’t share the administration’s priorities.  

As EPA noted, “[t]his information is thematically consistent with the brief of Amici, Sens. Markey, Reed and Whitehouse alleging that a certain party is using this Court, in this action, in service of its economic interests. Refreshingly, these records move beyond aspersions and instead provide documentation, contemporaneously recorded by two different parties hearing the same assertions and recording them the same way. Contrary to the suggestion of the Amici Senators, however, these notes show the State confiding to peers that it is Plaintiff who seeks to use the judiciary, in this suit, in that way.”

EPA provided the Court handwritten and typewritten notes both of which, independently, “document the State’s concession that Rhode Island’s elected representatives are insufficiently moved by the State’s claims of loss and looming disaster to enact laws raising the revenues the State’s executive desires; and that Plaintiff is thus “looking for [a] sustainable funding stream”, having been reduced to “suing big oil” for its “Priority – sustainable funding stream”. Notably both sets of notes capture the Plaintiff as having emphasized the “state court” aspect of its plan.”

These notes were taken during a two-day meeting in July 2019, hosted by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund at the Rockefeller mansion at Pocantico, NY, as a forum for policy activists and a major funder to coordinate with senior public officials from 15 states. It is to these officials the Plaintiff Rhode Island, through its Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit, confessed to this motive, captured unambiguously by not one but two participants.

Records provided to the Court include:


Government Accountability & Oversight is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to transparency in public officials’ dealings on matters of energy, environment and law enforcement

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March 11, 2020 3:02 am

But, Orange Man bad?

Ron Long
March 11, 2020 3:09 am

Good posting of another disclosure that “climate lawsuits” are about money redistribution, you know, give me some of yours. The United Nations is Rhode Island writ large, and their shake-down nonsense is getting ludicrous. Good thing sites like Wattsup are standing guard against the worst of these attempts, but there sure are a lot of them that keep on coming! Press ON!

Coach Springer
Reply to  Ron Long
March 11, 2020 4:45 am

Some people want to make it. The rest want to take it. Bureaucrats are always in the latter group.

Bryan A
Reply to  Coach Springer
March 11, 2020 10:05 am

That is because Bureaucrats produce nothing tangible to create a revenue stream

March 11, 2020 3:14 am

“Jaw-dropping” is the best way to describe this! The little people and their elected representatives don’t want it but we’ll go ahead anyway!

Not what most people understand by “the land of the free”!

Reply to  Newminster
March 11, 2020 6:12 am

“Land of the free” ended when the first true government was formed. Only in anarchy are people truly free.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Sheri
March 11, 2020 9:32 am

Never lasts long. The stronger and more ruthless will always attempt to control the rest, and anarchy turns into other forms that we’ve already seen throughout history.

Reply to  Newminster
March 12, 2020 12:16 pm

Close – ot’s the land of the fee!

March 11, 2020 3:38 am

Socialists: Funding must be provided…….

Samuel C Cogar
March 11, 2020 3:54 am

BEWARE, ….. BEWARE, …….. the Swamp is wide and deep.

March 11, 2020 4:15 am

Rogue’s Island?

Reply to  bsl
March 11, 2020 5:34 am

Yes, since 1636 when Roger Williams made RI a religious refuge for free thinkers. That’s when the scoundrel started to come in. Sheldon Whitehouse is almost a stupid AOC. He made his reputation on litigation and is sticking to it.

March 11, 2020 4:30 am

This is how climate alarm is really like anti tobacco campaigns, vices are taxed at much higher rates than necessities. Turning fossil energy use into an evil makes crippling taxes a virtue. And like tobacco, a parasitic vice tax is designed to weaken the host not kill it to maintain the revenue stream.

Reply to  Sean
March 11, 2020 2:30 pm

“…like anti tobacco campaigns … And like tobacco, a parasitic vice tax ”

Please help me out here, I’m not a native english speaker, but as a smoker I’m very interested 😉
Ary you implying that smoking is not as bad as it is portrayed?


Jim B
Reply to  lb
March 11, 2020 5:46 pm

Quit smoking. It will kill you.

Reply to  Jim B
March 12, 2020 1:09 pm

Yes I know, thanks.

Still, I don’t understand “This is how climate alarm is really like anti tobacco campaigns”, to me this sounds like [climate alarmism is like anti tobacco] – what’s missing?

Lee Feldman
Reply to  lb
March 13, 2020 8:56 am

I think the point is that they don’t want you to quit because it kills the tax revenue. Same with fossil fuels, if we quit who pays for the roads, bike trails mass transit etc.

Reply to  lb
March 13, 2020 8:18 am

Well it starts with good intentions but the crusaders simply end up taxing the Hell out of addicts to continue building their scold empire even as consumption falls. You can see that when vaping comes along that UK Health has pronounced 95% safer than smoking (yes we know fresh air is best) and rather than cheer they naturally want controls and taxing as it threatens their empire and jobs.

After all if you get a 95% improvement tackling any problem it becomes a marginal problem and you naturally turn your scarce resources elsewhere. Over their dead bureaucratic bodies you will and welcome to the ratchet effect with taxeaters and empire building everywhere.

Reply to  observa
March 13, 2020 9:44 am


Reply to  lb
March 13, 2020 4:51 pm

Or to put it another way you’re in the EPA business and you’ve largely cleaned up emissions etc and the intray is a bit empty and along comes a Hockey Schtick and CAGW perhaps. Welcome to Eldorado and the MSM is always in the bad news business so you’ve got a perpetual free ad campaign and it doesn’t take long for the Sandstone grants mob to jump onboard with the gravy train with the most marginal BS science has ever seen.

March 11, 2020 4:39 am

What is this The Transparency group Energy Policy Advocates , presented repeatedly and misleadingly in this reporting as “EPA” then EPA, an anocronym which is already firmly defined as meaning federal Environmental Protection Agency.

John Endicott
Reply to  Greg
March 11, 2020 5:23 am

Learn some reading comprehension Greg, the article spells out in the very first sentence what it’s use of “EPA” means – which is the proper way to use acronyms (not anocronym, which is not a word) :

The Transparency group Energy Policy Advocates (“EPA”)

If you can’t read and understand that, than go back to remedial classes and learn.

Bryan A
Reply to  John Endicott
March 11, 2020 10:09 am

Gee John
Wake up on the wrong side of the aisle this morning?


Reply to  John Endicott
March 11, 2020 2:05 pm

Yes, the article ‘disclosed’ that. It is still deliberately deceptive, an example of construction of a perception for the fast-moving pace of the world.

Reply to  windlord-sun
March 11, 2020 10:47 pm

Environmental “Protection” Agency is also deliberately deceptive. But it is what they call themselves.

John Endicott
Reply to  windlord-sun
March 13, 2020 5:42 am

deliberately deceptive on whose part? They properly specified what they meant by the terms they used (as you yourself admit when you agree that it was disclosed). If you can’t understand what they mean based on them spelling it out for you, that’s entirely your problem, not theirs or anyone else’s.

March 11, 2020 4:54 am

From the filestampedmotion link:

Energy Policy Advocates wishes to support the Defendants-Appellants in this
matter. Its proposed brief will illuminate key facts from public records about
the underlying suit, including Plaintiffs’ assertions of damages and how these
relate to the issue of bias that exists in state courts, as well as representations
about same by Plaintiff’s counsel’s team, all of which are instructive about the need for this Court to adjudicate the important federal concerns raised in this

So, it belongs in federal court because the state courts are biased and there are federal issues to be considered anyway.

If the court agrees with that, it will have huge effects on other states’ lawsuits against the oil industry.

This issue needs to be squashed by the Supreme Court. Half the idiots filing these nuisance lawsuits wouldn’t even be alive if it weren’t for fossil fuels. If you’re counting up the damages due to fossil fuels, you also have to count the benefits. The benefits outweigh the damages by an order of magnitude.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
March 11, 2020 5:00 am

This should not surprise anyone. Climate change lawsuits are just take 2 of the tobacco litigation. In the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 between the various states and tobacco companies, the states got a payment total of $250 billion (10E9) dollars over the first 25 years. The “revenue stream” was funded by a tax on every cigarette/cigar sold in each of the respective states. So: (1) tobacco sales have to continue to fund the payments, and (2) if any state promotes anti-smoking campaigns effective enough to actually get all its residents to stop smoking, the payments stop also.

In effect, the MSA allowed tobacco companies to continue to sell their product and protected them from competition and additional litigation in exchange for a cut of the take. The States in effect became a partner of the tobacco industry while claiming the role of champion and protector of tobacco victims.

Depending on how you count things, some estimates are that overall the states have spent well below 14% of their MSA payments on programs reasonably related to treating tobacco-related illnesses or getting people to quit smoking:

To help guide state governments, in 2007 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that states reinvest 14 percent of the money from the settlement and tobacco taxes in anti-smoking programs. But most state governments have decided to prioritize other things: Colorado has spent tens of millions of its share to support a literacy program, while Kentucky has invested half of its money in agricultural programs.

“What states have actually done has fluctuated year by year … but it’s never come close to 14 percent,” Levin says. “There are some fairly notorious cases of money being used for fixing potholes, for tax relief [and] for financial assistance for tobacco farmers.”

So, with the tobacco cash declining, the various States are rebooting the same strategy against the energy industry.

paul courtney
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
March 11, 2020 7:13 am

Alan Watt: Agreed, but I like to add that Plaintiff lawyers pursuing big tobacco failed (at first their cases were thrown out on motions, then they found a judge or two who let it go to trial, but jury verdicts were lost on appeal) until state AG’s were persuaded to join plaintiffs, alleging public health costs etc. Only then did tobacco companies decide to settle. People forget that, but not people like G. Soros and Mike Bloomberg, who have openly bribed Dem state AG’s (well, those AG’s wanted to be bribed) by providing money to pay for “climate change lawyers” as psuedo AG dept’s. Bloomberg in particular knows that big companies willing to fight plaintiff lawyers are more fearful of states suing them. Wonder what Mr. Bloomberg and D’s would think if, say, big oil diverted the billions spent on our host (HA!) to an AG who would pursue RICO actions against AGW warriors?

Reply to  paul courtney
March 11, 2020 7:48 am

When government wants your money, there isn’t much you can do about it.
They will keep pushing until they get it. They have unlimited funds.

Reply to  MarkW
March 11, 2020 8:35 am

MarkW: “They have unlimited funds.”

Yup, and they took the money from us. They use our own money to fund our own destruction!

March 11, 2020 6:25 am

The Green shake down exposed… a little bit. RI is broke and has been for a very long time due to corruption and mismanagement. The Climate crises has offered the state a potential bail out which it’s leadership intends to take full advantage of. The dream is cash for RI infrastructure from Nebraska farmers. That’s the American way.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Troe
March 11, 2020 8:35 am

The dream is also huge contingency fees for participating private laws firms working under contract to do the hard work of writing up motions, reviewing, consolidating, indexing, and discovery documents. Gotta pay for all those partners 2nd and 3rd vacation homes.

The dream is more money flowing into underfunded public union retirement plans without the pols going to the taxpayer directly which would get them thrown out of office.

A little bit of the Action for all joining and playing the climate hustle.

The Climate Scam – Stealth Fleecing the Middle Class for 30 years and counting.

Bryan A
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 11, 2020 10:14 am

I’ve often thought that, in ALL Class Action Lawsuits, Lawyers and Law Firms should only be paid as equal members of the class.
Far too often the lawyer/law firms gets Hundreds of Million$ while class members get Thousand$.

March 11, 2020 7:57 am

So, I file a lawsuit is state court on the basis of a spurious claim and am caught out as having an ulterior motive for the suit, unrelated, to the spurious claim. Doesn’t the court frown on that kind of thing?

Just wondering…


Reply to  Max
March 11, 2020 1:54 pm

Are you a progressive and a member of the privileged club, or a conservative that would have done something as awful as voting for Trump. If the former, no. If the later, yes.

Joel Snider
March 11, 2020 9:41 am

Just keeping everyone up to date on a side-issue here in Oregon – the Cap and Trade was stalled by the Republican walk-out, denying the state-legislature the required quorum. Now they’re trying to get around that too. Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown (who’s not visually distinguishable from Greta, minus pigtails and adding a few crow’s feet) signed an executive order, ordering state agencies to ‘address climate change’.

I can only imagine what kind of rat-f*** this is going to be.

Bryan A
Reply to  Joel Snider
March 11, 2020 10:16 am

It’ll be a regular Cluster Mugging

Stewart Pid
Reply to  Bryan A
March 11, 2020 12:44 pm

A government Fuster Cluck

Joel Snider
Reply to  Stewart Pid
March 11, 2020 1:58 pm

Well this is what the evil b*tch is doing – notice how she surrounds herself with the children she’s been terrorizing.
When she gets to hell, I hope the Devil gives her the personal attention she deservers.


Joel Snider
Reply to  Joel Snider
March 11, 2020 2:23 pm

Basically, we lost in Oregon. She screwed us with a clear and smiling face.

March 11, 2020 10:14 am

“however, these notes show the State confiding to peers that it is Plaintiff who seeks to use the judiciary, in this suit, in that way.”

It is a variation of the classic “Sue and settle” variety of lawsuits that NGOs have used for decades to get laws reinterpreted to their preference and obtain funding.

March 11, 2020 11:27 am


For a good education about how the scam works, read “King of Torts”, and to a lesser extent, The Runaway Jury”.

As a result of the tobacco settlement, some lawyers here in Florida became multi-millionaires even tho they represented the plaintiffs for a simple “x” percent of the final settlement. When the “know all” legislature realized that a billion bucks went to lawyers, and members of the class action suit only got a few bucks, they whined and moaned. The courts said ” so sad, so bad”, read the fine print and do not look at the individual cases where the plaintiff got real money, same as we are now seeing with Roundup.

Gums sends….

March 11, 2020 11:47 am

Anthony – thank you again for catching these kinds of shenanigans and exposing them. We knew it already, but like to see it confirmed by the offending parties.

March 12, 2020 11:14 am

The revenue from gasoline is divided into multiple streams:
a) gas station (about 2% of price is their profit)
b) oil companies (about $0.10 to $0.25 per gallon which is also taxed as income)
c) state gas tax ($0.35 per gallon in Rhode Island)
d) federal gas tax ($0.185 per gallon)
e) raw material suppliers/licensing, etc (remainder)

Clearly, the state of Rhode Island is the largest winner in this arrangement, so they should pay the most to “fix” any damage.

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