Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
The way to fight fractivism effectively, and there really is no other, is to employ their own tactics and punch back twice as hard so they pay a price.
The Attorney General from Massachusetts, Maura Healey, the AG from New York, Eric Schneiderman and several other radicals drunk on their own power are making fantastical claims Exxon “knew” burning their evil, filthy, nasty oil and natural gas is causing Mom Earth to warm up, so they’ve been serving subpoenas to Exxon to turn over ever piece of communication the company has ever had. They are fishing for material to build a case against Exxon’s free speech. As wrote I wrote at MDN, these apostles of fractivism represent the rise of the new Enviro-Nazis. But what’s this? According to the Washington Times, another group of AGs have ridden in to town and are using the fossil fuel haters tactics against them – a master stroke in punching back twice as hard.
The argument being used in the fractivism camp is that knowingly covering up global warming from burning fossil fuels is tantamount to committing fraud – and they’re threatening lawsuits based on fraud. The new group of AGs is saying hold on there a minute. If it’s fraud to minimize the effects of global warming, why wouldn’t it also be fraud to overstate the case?
The new group of AGs is, by their letter, dropping the not-so-subtle threat they may go after “green” companies (and individuals) who intentionally overstate the effects of so-called global warming. Love it! Rub their green noses right in it! Here is some of what the Washington Times observed:
If Democratic attorneys general can pursue climate change skeptics for fraud, then also at risk of prosecution are climate alarmists whose predictions of global doom have failed to materialize.
The “cuts both ways” argument was among those raised by 13 Republican attorneys general in a letter urging their Democratic counterparts to stop using their law enforcement power against fossil fuel companies and others that challenge the climate change catastrophe narrative.
Consider carefully the legal precedent and threat to free speech, said the state prosecutors in their letter this week, headed by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
“If it is possible to minimize the risks of climate change, then the same goes for exaggeration,” said the letter. “If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud.”
The letter comes as Exxon Mobil fights off subpoenas by two prosecutors — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker — for decades’ worth of climate-related documents and communications with academics, universities and free-market think tanks.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and California Attorney General Kamala Harris have also reportedly launched probes.
Editor’s Note: This is exactly how to fight fractivism, by using their own logic and tactics against them. The oil and gas industry, with a few notable exceptions, has been incredibly slow to learn this and it’s been extraordinarily frustrating but here are some Attorneys General showing the way. I was particularly struck by some of the specifics in the letter, including this little gem about SolarCity, the Potemkin Village company run by Elon Musk’s cousin (and now being rescued by the big boy):
If Exxon’s disclosure is deficient, what of the failure of renewable energy companies to list climate change as a risk? See, e.g., SolarCity Corporation SEC Form 10-k, FY 2014 (omitting from item 1A risk factors any mention of climate change or global warming). If climate change is perceived to be slowing or becoming less of a risk, many “clean energy” companies may become less valuable and some may be altogether worthless. Therefore, any fraud theory requiring more disclosure of Exxon would surely require more disclosure by “clean energy” companies.
Similarly, it has been asserted that “fossil fuel companies” may have funded non-profits who minimized the risks of climate change. Does anyone doubt that “clean energy” companies have funded non-profits who exaggerated the risks of climate change? Under the stated theory for fraud, consumers and investors could suffer harm from misstatements by all energy-market participants and the non-profits they support. Yet only companies and non-profits allegedly espousing a particular viewpoint have been chosen for investigation.
It’s a great example, of course, and hints at the cronyism that is at the heart of so much of all this, but that pattern, the AGs note, is already evident in other ways:
The press conference was titled, “AGs United for Clean Power,” apparently to contrast with the power generated by the investigative targets. One of our colleagues emphasized that she looked forward to working with those at the press conference to “advocate for a comprehensive portfolio of renewable energy sources.” Furthermore, the media event featured a senior partner of a venture capital firm that invests in renewable energy companies. If the focus is fraud, such alignment by law enforcement sends the dangerous signal that companies in certain segments of the energy market need not worry about their misrepresentations… Implying a safe harbor for the “Clean Power” energy segment, which some estimate at $200 billion, or approximately the size of the pharmaceutical industry, is a dangerous practice.
The whole letter makes for great reading and it suggests exactly what should be done by landowners and Upstate residents in New York; they should pursue a Federal civil RICO case against the state’s AG, Eric Schneiderman, the NRDC gang and the Cuomo administration for exaggerating the risks of fracking and entering into partnerships with “clean energy” companies such as SolarCity who have been ripping off ratepayers and taxpayers and sticking a knife in the back of Upstate while hiding behind health reports “peer-reviewed” by fractivists. Is there any better case where they could punch back twice as hard? I doubt it.