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July 14, 2016

House Panel Subpoenas Advocacy Groups in Climate Fight

A Congressional Republican leader said Wednesday that his committee is issuing subpoenas to eight environmental nonprofits in the widening political battle over ExxonMobil’s record on climate change, reports The Washington Post. The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is seeking documents on the advocacy groups’ efforts to encourage the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts to investigate whether the oil company misled the public and investors about what it knew decades ago about global warming.

The panel’s chairman, Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, said it will also subpoena the two attorneys general over what ExxonMobil and its defenders call an effort to intimidate the company and inhibit its free-speech rights with respect to climate issues. 

Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, termed the subpoenas “an abuse of power” and said the committee was trying “to investigate a nonprofit for doing its job — in this case, providing public officials with science and evidence to hold fossil-fuel companies accountable for deception on climate change.”