Fanning and Moniz on Kemper: Nothing to See Here

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It would be hard to find an image of a cozier relationship between a giant energy company and a regulator than the joint appearance in Philadelphia on July 28th by Southern Company's Tom Fanning and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. 

Moniz and Fanning kidded each other like old pals at a Bipartisan Policy Center energy forum as they discussed their common view that the United States needs to aggressively pursue carbon capture and sequestration for coal-fired power plants - like Southern's Kemper project in Mississippi - to keep coal in the mix as a fuel for as long as possible.

But Moniz flatly refused to answer specific questions about charges raised in a front-page New York Times investigation in early July that Southern deliberately misled investors and its customers about when the Kemper plant would enter service, allegations that the Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating.

The Department of Energy helped Kemper get off the ground with a $270 million grant in 2008, and in April, awarded Southern another $137 million to lessen what has already been a substantial rate impact on the 23 largely poor, rural Mississippi counties that are having to pay for a substantial part of Kemper's cost, which has ballooned to $6.8 billion from an initial budget of $2.4 billion.

Former Kemper manager Brett Wingo, who first raised the issue of schedule irregularities inside the company and then became a key source for the New York Times story,  has claimed, supported by others, that the project management software used to plan the building of the plant was deliberately altered to make it seem like Kemper was on schedule when in fact it was at least two years behind.

Citizen Moniz

Asked by this reporter whether he thought the DOE's inspector general should investigate Kemper and DOE's relationship with Southern in light of the Times' piece and the SEC's fraud inquiry, which could result in criminal penalties for violation of federal laws on internal financial controls and financial reporting,  Moniz refused to answer, saying he was appearing at the Bipartisan Policy event as a private citizen, not in his official capacity as energy secretary.

Fanning dismissed the Times story, and said Wingo's charges were investigated twice, first internally, and then by the Jones Day law firm, and found to be without merit.  Southern has not released the details of either investigation.  

"The New York Times chose not to include the other side of the story," said Fanning. 

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Kemper Project's Untested Equipment Means Southern Company Way Off On Schedule

IMG_1741.JPGEngineers who worked on Southern Company's Kemper coal plant say the proposed start-up date of September 2016 is as unrealistic as previous dates given by the company and that the plant is unlikely to go on-line before sometime in 2017. 

One of the engineers, Brett Wingo, who blew the whistle on schedule delays at the plant in a New York Times investigation earlier this month, noted that aside from the gasifier itself, which is supposed to turn lignite coal into synthesis gas, or syngas, there are numerous other first-of-its-kind systems that Southern is not publicly acknowledging as likely delaying factors in its bid to put its "clean coal" power plant - already two years behind schedule and almost $5 billion over-budget - on-line.

These new, untested technologies include the key systems that transport and dry the low-grade lignite coal mined adjacent to the plant, and others that treat the syngas and remove pollutants, including carbon dioxide. 

The plant is supposed to remove 65 percent of the CO2 it produces, making it roughly equal to a natural gas plant in its carbon footprint, and pipe it to oil fields in the region to coax more oil from underproducing wells.  The plant has been running on conventional natural gas since the summer of 2014. 

So far, Southern has focused attention on generating syngas as the limiting factor in getting the plant into commercial operation. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing yesterday, Southern projected August as the date for "reliable syngas" production, with September still the date for commercial operation.

But Wingo, and another engineer expert in gasifier technology, both noted that there are numerous other kinks that will have to be worked out before Kemper can be declared "in-service," at which point Southern is expected to move immediately to get its Mississippi customers to pay for a big chunk of the plant's $6.8 billion cost.

Just how much still isn't clear, but is a major worry to customers of Southern - or rather Mississippi Power,  Southern's Mississippi  subsidiary, the plant's operator.

The engineers point out that once debugged, the individual systems then have to be made to run "synchronously" - like the cylinders in an auto engine - to keep the plant running smoothly and producing electricity.  A breakdown anywhere in the chain will shut the plant down for what would almost certainly be lengthy and expensive repairs. 

Another sticking point is the gas-fired turbines at the plant, which are part of the "power block" that actually produces electricity, as opposed to the gasifier island which makes the syngas and sends it to the turbines. First, the two Siemens turbines, designed for natural gas, have never before been run on syngas, and the control system for the power block will have to be integrated to run in tandem with the brand-new, untested control system for the gasifier.

About two months was supposed to be allocated for the integration of the various gas clean-up systems that will remove CO2, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants, with at least four months more to solve problems in the power block and coordinate the turbines with the gasifier - - adding at least another six months to the proposed September start date. 

That would put commercial operation off at least until January 2017. 

But that's not all.

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Spiders defend their Web Of Denial - to the tune of at least $92m

As Democrat Senators spent their second day this week outlining the cash funneled to front groups in the fossil fuel-funded climate Web of Denial, predictably, some of the spiders started crawling out of that web.

The senators received a sharply worded missive from a line-up of 22 free market groups, 21 of whom have received money from fossil fuel companies – or “dark money” (money laundered to hide the funders), and the majority of whom are fighting climate action - or the science.  The total funding added up to more than $92m. 

“Sadly, our democracy and our freedom hangs in the balance as you use your office to bully and single out groups to blame rather than ideas to debate,” they lamented. 

The American Citizenry “deserve and increasingly demand healthy and respectful political dialogue, and well-informed, well-debated public policies.”

The letter, hosted on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) website*, started off reasonably politely, but quicky turned nasty as the writers accused the Senators of being tyrants, of shutting down free speech, yada yada yada.

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Southern Company's 'Big Bet' on Kemper: A Rigged Game?

Kemper Power Plant

From the very beginning, the story of utility giant Southern Company's Kemper clean coal plant is a long trail of broken promises, according to a New York Times investigation - and the project's numerous critics.

These include many of the 186,000 utility customers in 23 largely rural, mostly low-income counties in southeastern Mississippi that are now on the hook for a good part of the plant's estimated $6.6 billion cost - this after Southern promised them and state and federal officials in 2010 that the first-of-its-kind power station wouldn't cost more than $2.4 billion. 

That figure lasted only a few months, followed by a promise of $2.8 billion. 

The plant was supposed to have been completed in four years, but insiders say that Southern and its subsidiary, Mississippi Power, the operator of the plant, knew very well that was impossible for a complex, novel technology that promised to capture 65 percent of the CO2 generated by locally-mined lignite, a moist, low-grade coal one engineer described as "one step up from peat moss." 

According to Brett Wingo, a former engineer and supervisor at the plant, he tried to point out that the projected timeline wasn't feasible as construction fell further and further behind. 

Starting in earnest in 2013, Wingo called, emailed and button-holed senior engineers and managers warning them that the company was violating the law by not being truthful in public statements about when the plant would finally go on line.

After fighting all the way up the chain of the Southern Company officials at Kemper, Wingo called Southern chief executive officer Tom Fanning, and during a 21-minute phone call on March 10, 2014, explained his concerns that as the CEO he was signing off on forward-looking statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission that could be shown to have been deliberately faked.

 Said Wingo, "He was really nice, totally supportive. He told me, 'You did exactly the right thing by calling me.'  But nothing happened. Nothing changed."

Moving the Money

 In order to make the Kemper plant a reality, Southern Company convinced the federal Department of Energy to transfer of a grant for $270 million for a "clean coal" power plant from its original site in Orlando, Florida to the backwoods of Kemper County.  

The story really began with a lobbyist's email that skipped all the usual formalities and went straight to the office of then-Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman, or "S-1."

The lobbyist who sent it, Eric Burgeson, worked for the BGR Group, which happened to be then-Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's own firm, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request by the Climate Investigations Center.  In late, January 2008,  Burgeson arranged for a meeting the following month between Barbour, Bodman, and officials of Southern Company and Mississippi Power to discuss moving a federally-funded "clean coal" project from Orlando, Florida to a remote corner of eastern Mississippi.

In the process, the size of the project roughly doubled, and the technological requirements became much more demanding.  The Orlando project was supposed to be a test of an advanced coal technology called TRIG, for Transport Integrated Gasification, that was developed by Southern Company and Kellogg Brown & Root with funding from the Department of Energy.  TRIG was designed to burn coal more cleanly by using extreme heat and pressure to gasify the coal after which more of the sulfur dioxiode and other pollutants could be scrubbed out than was possible in a conventional coal plant.

But to win money from the newly-available federal Clean Coal Power Initiative, Southern now promised to also use TRIG to capture most of the plant's carbon dioxide, which would be compressed and piped out to older underproducing oil fields and injected into the ground to drive more oil to the surface - a process called enhanced oil recovery.  The project was now not only twice as big, but a good deal more complex, with even more first-of-its-kind bells and whistles.

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Why won’t Exxon publish its 2015 denial funding?

For some reason, ExxonMobil has delayed publishing its corporate giving report this year, well beyond the normal timing.  Is the report undergoing new internal scrutiny due to the investigations launched by several states?


Normally, by this time of year, Exxon has published what it calls its Worldwide Giving Report , as part of its Corporate Citizenship Report.  This report details to whom the ExxonMobil Foundation has given grants - everything from universities to health organizations to think tanks and corporate trade associations. 

This data has been the source of the running tally ExxonSecrets has kept since the late 1990’s on the company’s funding of climate denial.   The report (called "dimensions in the early days) is a summary of the filings the ExxonMobil Foundation has to give to the IRS each year.  

Exxonsecrets looked carefully at the groups receiving Exxon funding under its “Public Policy and Information” section, selected those running climate denial campaigns, and tallied the funding, adding figures from “corporate” funding. 

The running total of ExxonMobil funding from 1997-2014 is $$31,853,735.

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Top Ten Documents Every Reporter Covering Exxon-Mobil Should Know

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If you are a reporter covering ExxonMobil and the unfolding #ExxonKnew investigations underway in several states, the story can get very complex.  Exxon is claiming it did nothing wrong.  Exxon's paid accomplices are martyring themselves and screaming about the First Amendment.

We thought we would take it back to basics - the source documents. We created an online file cabinet of the key documents that have been revealed by investigative journalists over the past nine months and those in our Exxon archives from 25 years of watching the climate denial machine at work.  We will add documents as they arrive on our desks.

These documents all live at ClimateFiles.com, an archive built on the Document Cloud platform familiar to journalists, created with a grant by the Knight Foundation.

There are three basic phases to this story. 

What Exxon knew and when they knew it - The crux of what was revealed in the fall and winter of 2015 by the Inside Climate News investigation and the Columbia University/ Los Angeles Times collaboration is extensive new evidence that Exxon and the rest of the oil industry had a more thorough understanding of climate science in the 1970s and 1980s than had previously been realized.  And that they also understood the policy and economic implications of the climate threat. Further revelations by DeSmog in April 2016 confirmed Exxon's unequivocal knowledge in the late 1970s that "there is no doubt that increases in fossil fuel usage" were problematic for climate, and that these facts were known across Exxon's global operations. This serves as a new backdrop for what happened next.

What Exxon did to block rising concern about climate change - This phase starts in the late 1980s, heats up in the mid 1990s and extends into the late 2000s, changing shape and tone with increased governmental attention to the climate threat. Here there are key documents showing Exxon's (and Mobil's and later ExxonMobil's) ringleader role in driving the corporate campaign against advancing national and international policies to avert dangerous climate change.

What Exxon would like hide from investigators now - Exxon executed a turn about a decade ago with clever PR tactics, declaring that they had always known about climate change but had been "misunderstood".  This is detailed extensively in Steve Coll's increasingly important book Private Empire (see chapter 15 "On my honor").  Between 2006 and 2008, the company began to mark its words on climate change more carefully and abruptly stopped funding multiple non-profit organizations and front groups it had been coordinating to apply pressure in the public policy arena by attacking climate science, climate scientists and elected officials who took up the charge.  This campaign ramped up after the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and escalated during the first 5 years of the Bush Administration. 

KEY DOCUMENTS:

1. 1998 American Petroleum Institute Global Climate Science Communications Plan 

This leaked plan was launched the year after the Kyoto Protocol was signed. It was developed by representatives from the API, Exxon, Southern Company, Chevron and a team of people free market organizations along with communications professionals.  The plan includes a multimillion dollar, multi-year budget to install “uncertainty” in the public policy arena.  Target audiences are detailed including media, policy makers and science teachers and the plan includes an objectives list titled “Victory will be achieved…” itemizing the measurable goals of the plan. Multiple groups Exxon would subsequently fund are named in the plan. 

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2. 1980 Imperial Oil’s Review of Environmental Protection Activities for 1978-1979

3. 1981 Letter from Esso scientist on impact of Natuna Gas Project CO2 emissions

February 3, 1981 letter from Gilbert Gervasi, scientist at Esso Eastern to G.A. Northington, Exxon Research and Engineering regarding CO2 calculations for the Natuna Gas Project finding “the total release of CO2 from producing Natuna gas and burning of LNG manufactured from the gas would be almost twice that emitted by burning the equivalent amount of coal.”

There are multiple other key documents on Natuna in the ClimateFiles archive.  The majority of these were illuminated by the Inside Climate News team

4. 1995 Global Climate Coalition draft primer Predicting Future Climate Change a Primer

This document contains a "final draft" of a to-be-published document by the Global Climate Coalition responding to the IPCC Second Assessment.  It has been edited by Lenny Bernstein a Mobil Oil scientist (page 2).  The document contains a back section with extensive rebuttals of major counter-arguments used by climate deniers. This part was never published.

5. 1996 Exxon publication "Global Warming - Who's Right?"

Exxon Corporation’s Spring 1996 Publication, “Global warming: who’s right? Facts about a debate that’s turned up more questions than answers,” includes a statement by then Exxon CEO Lee Raymond trumping up uncertainty in the science behind global warming as well as the cost of a carbon-restricted market. The publication cites to Exxon funded climate change deniers.

6. 1997 Lee Raymond speech at China World Petroleum Congress

In this speech, delivered in October 1997, weeks before the Kyoto Protocol final negotiations commenced, Raymond launches attacks on climate science and policy proposals.  He exclaims that proposed international climate change policies will adversely affect Asian countries desiring economic growth.

7. 1998 ExxonMobil Pamphlet: Global Climate Change - everyone’s debate

This pamphlet, circulated to both U.S. and international policy-makers questions whether climate change is man-made and if so, the extent of contribution of fossil fuels to the problem. Although statements in this pamphlet are partially true in that Exxon “carefully studied” the science behind climate change, it contradicts its own internal early climate change research and findings and instead emphasizes unknowns in the “honest debate.”

8. 2000 ExxonMobil publishes collection of New York Times Op-ad series on climate change

In April 2000, Exxon published a collection of Op Eds it had submitted across the country in order to influence public understanding of the risks of climate change and proposed solutions. The series here includes articles entitled “Do No Harm,” “Unsettled Science,” “The Promise of Technology,” and “The Path Forward on Climate Change.” Each of these propaganda pieces highlights uncertainty regarding impacts and paints Exxon as a key to the solution for global climate change rather than the problem. Readers can review highlighted excerpts and the rhetoric used in 2000 with Exxon political activity at the time. 

9. 2001 FOIA-ed memo from Exxon Mobil’s Randy Randol to Bush Administration

This fax and memorandum dated February 6, 2001 from Exxon lobbyist Randy Randol to John Howard at the White House Center for Environmental Quality makes recommendations for changing the U.S. team working on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment and Synthesis Report and delaying IPCC proceedings.  

Another 2002 memo from Randy Randol to the Bush Whitehouse outlined what would eventually become the Bush ClimateScience.gov program

10. 2006 ExxonMobil Heartland Institute DCI Group meeting targeting Clean Air Act

This meeting invitation and agenda illustrate the ongoing ringleader role ExxonMobil played in organizing asymmetrical attacks on the Clean Air Act and other environmental protections laws.  The meeting was hosted by Heartland Institute which received a $115,000 grant from ExxonMobil that year.  The meeting was held at the offices of DCI Group, a public relations firm contracted by ExxonMobil.

 

 









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Competitive Enterprise Institute NYT Ad Signatories Got $10 Million from Exxon

Screen_Shot_2016-05-18_at_2.25.09_PM.pngThis week, the Competitive Enterprise Institute ran a full page ad in the New York Times complaining that the undersigned groups were being attacked in the course of several state investigations into Exxon's campaign of climate denial.  Not wanting to give the CEI broadcast any oxygen, but what really caught our eye is the list of signatories and their collective history of funding by Exxon.

Last time I looked it costs at least $100K to run a full page ad in the New York Times. What an analog tactic in this modern age...run an ad as a show of strength and pretend that people saw it.

The gist of the ad, with an image of the gagged Statue of Liberty, is a martyred plea about the abuse of power by state Attorneys General investigating ExxonMobil (#ExxonKnew) and how such subpoenas and requests for transparency are infringements of First Amendment protections.  We wrote here the other day on how the First Amendment plea by Exxon's lawyers and minions mimics that of Big Tobacco decades ago.

FINDINGS

(Note: happy to guide any reporter who asks through these documents)

In total, the signers of this ad have received $10.1 Million dollars from Exxon, ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation from 1997 through 2014.  They were key nodes in Exxon's climate denial machine.  CEI was the largest active recipient to receive climate tagged funding from the company starting with a 1997 grant for $95,000 earmarked by Exxon for CEI's "Global Climate Change Program".  And I didn't even tally all of Steve Milloy's various grants from Exxon through the years.

These figures come from analysis of the ExxonSecrets database.  Looking more closely at the original documents, we found that these grants included over $2.2 Million in climate-specific funding from Exxon - grants earmarked for climate change work.

Further, the signatory list includes some clear VIPs of climate denial. In fact, several of the signatories were part of the infamous 1998 Global Climate Climate Science Communications Team, who crafted a multimillion dollar plan to challenge the "conventional wisdom" of climate science and replace it with "uncertainty".  This team was organized by American Petroleum Institute and included representatives from Exxon, Chevron and Southern Company.

CEI's ad signatories Myron Ebell, Steve Milloy and David Rothbard were all on that 1998 team who developed the campaign.

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 In addition, the 1998 memo goes into great detail about the potential funders of such an effort and the so called "Potential fund allocators" who would receive the money implement the plan.  CEI itself was listed as a 'fund allocator" along with three groups who signed the CEI ad: ALEC, CFACT and Frontiers of Freedom.  (The Marshall Institute, alas, is no more...transformed into the CO2 Coalition)

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Signatories to CEI NYT Advertisement Exxon funding 1997-2014 Climate-specific Exxon Funding
Competitive Enterprise Institute $2,100,000 $370,000
American Legislative Exchange Council $1,730,200 $238,500
Frontiers of Freedom $1,272,000 $617,000
Heritage Foundation $870,000 $25,000
Heartland Inst $686,500 $140,000
National Center for Policy Analysis $645,900  
Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow $587,000 $180,000
Foundation on Resource Economics FREE $450,000 $20,000
Nat. Center for Public Policy Research $445,000 $45,000
FreedomWorks (Citizens for a Sound Economy) $405,250 $250,250
Capital Research Center $265,000  
Ron Arnold, Executive VP, Center for Defense of Free Enterprise $230,000 $230,000
American Council on Science and Health $165,000 $15,000
Center for Study of CO2 and Global Change $100,000 $75,000
Independent Women's Forum $75,000 $15,000
Mountain States Legal Foundation $65,000  
Science and Environmental Policy Project $20,000  
TOTAL $10,111,850 $2,220,750

So there you have it, we assume Exxon (and others) went ahead with the 1998 API plan, even thought it was leaked and front page news in the New York Times.

These groups don't want people asking questions about their corporate funders, and don't want to be questioned about what exactly they did with Exxon's money.

Exxon doesn't want to answer questions about what they expected in return for these large grants.  (CEI already subpoenaed and clearly expects to be on the short list of future investigations.)  They want to change the subject to a discussion of free speech...

The list on this ad should serve as a pretty good field guide for lawyers seeking information on Exxon's campaign of climate science misinformation.

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Lawsuit Against ExxonMobil Ties Climate Policy to Local Oil Hazard

Boston Harbor

 A Massachusetts conservation group says it will sue ExxonMobil for failing to protect the Boston harbor area from an old, leaky oil terminal that spews toxic material into nearby rivers, charging that the company's dual role of climate change expert and denier makes it uniquely culpable.

The landmark action by the Conservation Law Foundation is apparently the first to link a fossil fuel company's policy on global warming to a particular, localized environmental threat.

At issue is ExxonMobil's Everett marine terminal, an oil transfer and storage facility - a tank farm with three berths for ships to dock - a few miles northwest of Boston at the junction of the Mystic and Island End rivers. 

The terminal and surrounding area are built on landfill, which is at or close to sea level, and will be completely submerged in the foreseeable future as sea levels rise due to global warming, according to Bradley Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation, which sent ExxonMobil a notification letter yesterday alleging numerous violations of clean water and environmental laws at the Everett facility, a required first step before it files a lawsuit in federal court. 

Rain and Toxins

Campbell noted that ExxonMobil put its expertise on global warming to work in taking measures to protect its off-shore oil rigs and other assets.  This followed a corporate research program beginning in the late seventies that proved warming was occurring and outlined specific threats.

Yet the company has done nothing to safeguard the sizeable population of the greater Boston area from the toxic hazard at Everett, CLF charges.  Campbell noted that intense storms that deposit two inches or more of rain during a 24 hour period are 70 percent more frequent in the northeast than in the recent past.

"In any intense rain period, the water treatment center at this facility is overwhelmed," Campbell said, explaining that when that happens, petroleum products and toxic material already in the soil pour into the Mystic river.  These spills have the most immediate impact on the communities nearest to the terminal, most of which are lower-income.

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DCI Group Subpoenaed on Exxon Climate Denial Fraud Case

Now this is getting interesting...Screen_Shot_2016-04-20_at_4.58.06_PM.png

PRWatch just revealed that DCI Group was subpoenaed by the US Virgin Islands as part of the ExxonMobil fraud investigation.

This Climate Investigations post contains some things we know about Exxon and DCI Group and its work on climate change.

First, we know there was a contract.  DCI Group was retained by ExxonMobil for many years for probably a range of services.  

On OpenSecrets we find records of ExxonMobil retaining DCI Group for years, for example: 2005 $140,000   2006 $160,000

We also know ExxonMobil funded some of DCI's specific work that was directly related to climate change (see Tech Central Station below).  And we know DCI was involved in other efforts around the climate change policy and science 'debate'.  We don't know how much of this was work that was under the ExxonMobil contract.

So what might turn up from the Virgin Islands subpoena?  Answer, lots.

In an expose published several years ago over at PolluterWatch, we dug into Andrea Saul, then Senator McCain's press secretary who used to work for DCI Group on the climate counter attack account.  Lots of details on DCI Group are to be found in that blog.

Meanwhile, below are a few examples of climate denial episodes starring DCI Group...

Send us more if you have them. Any documents too!

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Exxon Mimics Big Tobacco's First Amendment Plea

A Tobacco O.G.

ExxonMobil's claim last week in a Texas court that the First Amendment bars an attorney general's investigation into its history of climate denial is probably a loser.

Big Tobacco tried to use the First Amendment defense to shield itself when the U.S. Department of Justice sued the cigarette makers for conspiring to mislead the public about smoking's dangers under the federal racketeering law or RICO. 

But federal courts came to a simple conclusion: The constitution doesn't protect fraud.

That was the opinion of the judge who tried the government's RICO case, and of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the nation's second highest court, which issued a scathing opinion upholding the trial judge's ruling that Big Tobacco's long history of denial of cigarettes' lethality was a deliberate lie intended to defraud the public and therefore not protected speech.

"Of course, it is well settled that the First Amendment does not protect fraud," the appeals court noted.

Old Tobacco Hands

ExxonMobil raised the First Amendment defense when it sued in Tarrant County, Texas on April 13th.  It argued that a subpoena by the attorney general of the Virgin Islands charging it with violating the V.I.'s Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, its version of RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act),  is politically-motivated and should be quashed as a violation of ExxonMobil's constitutional right to participate "in ongoing public deliberations about climate change..."

(Theodore Wells Jr., a lawyer on ExxonMobil's Texas action, was co-lead counsel for Philip Morris, the biggest tobacco company in the world, during the federal government's RICO case.) 

In addition to ExxonMobil, the Virgin Islands has subpoenaed records from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. that received substantial amounts of money from ExxonMobil to promote climate denial.

In its subpoena to ExxonMobil, the Virgin Islands charges the company with "misrepresenting its] knowledge of the likelihood that [its] products and activities have contributed and are continuing to contribute to Climate Change in order to defraud" the government and consumers of the Virgin Islands.

Politics and Fraud

ExxonMobil's lawsuit is part of a recent campaign, mostly conducted in the media, to push back against action by several attorneys general to hold the company accountable for promoting the denial of legitimate climate science.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about ExxonMobil's legal counter-attack also aired the charge, detailed at length in the company's Texas lawsuit, that a March 29th meeting of 17 attorneys general was "a politically motivated event, urged on by activists intolerant of contrary views." Four of the 17 attorneys general are investigating ExxonMobil and potentially other fossil fuel companies for denying what they knew was the truth about global warming.

"Frustrated by the federal government's inaction" on climate, Exxon argued in its Texas lawsuit, the attorneys general are illegimately trying to use the legal process to force change. The result will be to chill legitimate debate about climate.

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