The below timeline affirms it is acceptable for an AG to launch investigations into, e.g., the renewable energy or climate industry at the request of trial lawyers
- October 2012: La Jolla meeting proceedings published. Plaintiffs’ attorney Matt Pawa calls for “a single sympathetic attorney general” to begin subpoenaing records of private parties targeted by climate tort suits. A federal court later describes this request to initiate investigations of perceived opponents of a shared political and policy agenda a “‘strateg[y] to win access to internal documents’ of fossil fuel companies”.
- December 1, 2015: Pawa emails MA OAG in pursuit of same:
“Melissa and Christophe – You have probably been reading about the disclosure of Exxon’s early knowledge. My office has collected and reviewed the documents that recently came to light and we have put together a mini trial-type presentation on what Exxon knew about global warming, when it knew it and what it did anyway in the next 20 plus years.
I have been giving this presentation to various government officials and am told that it has been very helpful to their understanding of the situation as they consider options similar to those the NY AG has commenced. I would be happy to do this presentation for you if you are interested ( and without regard to any issue of hiring counsel — this is just information provided as a public service that you may be able to use as you consider whether to take a closer look at this matter).
Links are here to the articles that have generated so much attention on this issue:
– http://insideclimatenews.org/ content/Exxon-The- Road -Not-Taken
– http:/ /graphics.latimes.com/exxon-arctic/
- January 11, 2016: Pawa gives presentation to Massachusetts OAG, “What Exxon Knew: And What It Did Anyway” seeking AG investigation
- March 29, 2016: AG Healey announces investigation into “what Exxon knew”. At press conference, AGs and Al Gore point to the same InsideClimate News and LA Times stories arranged for by Rockefeller entities as impetus for investigations. As a federal court put it:
“[S]he disclosed that she too had begun investigating ExxonMobil and concluded, before receiving a single document from ExxonMobil,” that “Fossil fuel companies that deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change should be, must be, held accountable. That’s why I, too, have joined in investigating the practices of ExxonMobil. We can all see today the troubling disconnect between what Exxon knew, what industry folks knew, and what the company and industry chose to share with investors and with the American public. (emphases added) Transcript, p. 12
- April 25, 2016: Union of Concerned Scientists hosts a “secret meeting at Harvard” Law School, a closed-door meeting for “prospective funders” and state attorneys general, titled “Potential State Causes of Action Against Major Carbon Producers.”
- MA OAG Maura Healey sends five OAG attorneys to Harvard meeting
- UCLA Law’s Horowitz advocates AGs making “Consumer protection claims”
- UCLA’s Horowitz emails funder of “Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment”, and host Harvard Law School’s Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, Dan Emmett, saying meeting is “about going after climate denialism–along with a bunch of state and local prosecutors nationwide”.
- March 29, 2017:S. District Court describes the request for AG investigations of perceived opponents of a shared agenda one of the “‘strategies to win access to internal documents’ of fossil fuel companies”.
- September 15, 2017: MA AG Healey asks for Bloomberg-hired attorneys who it will put to work “investigating private companies for investor and consumer protection violations related to environmental and climate claims”
- September 29, 2017: Bloomberg group gives Healey two attorneys for the purpose
- April 12, 2019: Energy Policy Advocates (EPA) requests 2016 correspondence between Matt Pawa and MAG OAG staff.
- April 29, 2019: MA OAG responds to the public records request by refusing to release any part of the correspondence, claiming that release even of the purely factual To, From, and Date fields of the emails “might not only prejudice the investigation going forward, but would also likely impact the related litigation.”
- June 3, 2019: EPA files suit against MA OAG for release of the Pawa correspondence.
- September 11, 2019: MA OAG releases the Pawa correspondence in its entirety to EPA, avoids answering lawsuit’s factual allegations about their relationship.
- October 10, 2019: MA OAG notifies ExxonMobil it will move forward on “consumer protection” climate litigation discussed at “secret meeting at Harvard” for AGs and described in Healey’s application seeking a donation of Bloomberg-hired attorneys.