SE Texas Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

A simple yes-no question for conniving politicians

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By The Record | Jan 22, 2018

When he first interceded in the State of Massachusetts' lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was motivated by the belief that “using governmental power as a means to silence critics or beat political opponents should be called out.”

The amicus brief Paxton filed argued that Exxon's adversaries “falsely presume that the scientific debate regarding climate change is settled, along with the related and equally important debate on how to respond to what science has found.”

The adversaries were led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who were too clever by half, giving Paxton and others the opportunity to turn the tables on them.

“If it is possible to minimize the risks of climate change, then the same goes for exaggeration,” Paxton and 12 other state AGs said in a letter to peers, urging the renouncement of the misuse of prosecutorial powers. “If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud.”

Now Exxon also  is turning the tables on its adversaries, asking the Tarrant County District Court to permit questioning of various California government officials, to document duplicity in blaming Exxon for a projected flooding disaster (allegedly due to climate change, allegedly exacerbated by Exxon) while concealing that purported threat to possible investors in their bond offerings.

Last year in California, the counties of Marin, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo and the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Imperial Beach jumped on the climate-change lawfare bandwagon and filed suit against Exxon and 17 other Texas-based businesses.

“It is reasonable to infer that the municipalities brought these lawsuits not because of a bona fide belief in any tortious conduct by the defendants or actual damage to their jurisdictions, but instead to coerce ExxonMobil and others operating in the Texas energy sector to adopt policies aligned with those favored by local politicians in California,” Exxon attorneys argued.

California pols can't have it both ways. Are their bonds a safe investment or not? It's a simple yes-or-no question.

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