In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee March 9, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch confirmed that the Justice Department has asked the FBI to look into statements by so-called climate deniers.
Her comments came in response to questions from Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
Whitehouse has long wanted the government to consider civil racketeering charges against those whose scientific opinions on the subject of global warming are contrary to the findings of the Obama administration.
Writing in The Washington Post in May of last year, he cited what he said were “striking” parallels between what the tobacco industry did in denying harm from their products to those in the energy sector who he believes may be doing the same when denying impacts from the use of fossil fuels.
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Again in October, this time writing for the Huffington Post, he called for those whose opinions he disagrees with to face “an actual impartial judge or jury” to defend their statements.
Lynch’s reply to him last week seemed to suggest that such an opportunity might be in the working stages.
“This matter has been discussed,” she said. “We have received information about it and have referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on.”
We … have referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch
If a determination is made by the FBI that civil violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act have been made, then Whitehouse may be getting what he has sought.
Twelve ordinary people could become the final arbiters of the questions that have resulted in scientists and others around the world rejecting what President Obama has declared as “settled science.”
Up to now what we have seen in the development of this controversy during the past decade has been a fight in Congress that has produced no new laws directly authorizing any action to stop the climate from changing.
That’s because of two principal reasons. First, a great many federal lawmakers don’t believe any legislation attempting to control human behavior can make any difference, even if global warming alarmists are right.
Their conclusion seems to be supported by regular testimony from the administration’s top people that their own science concludes no lowering of global carbon levels or temperatures being achieved from anything the United States alone can do.
Second, the job losses and higher energy bills from proposed controls on emissions of greenhouse gasses bring harmful economic consequences that legislators from both parties cannot and will not support.
Never deterred by what Congress won’t do, the president ordered his Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with massive regulatory reform of the U.S. energy industry anyway.
As I have written before, those questionable new rules have resulted in lawsuits from more than half the states and countless other litigants to stop the EPA from implementing their questionable actions.
All of that political and legal wrangling has been ongoing with the possible outcome of turning back Obama’s legacy-making initiatives to save the planet.
Will this possible investigation spread to pursuit of dissenting scientists who have written or spoken against the theories that support the administration’s regulatory agenda?
Can those Whitehouse described as involved in a “climate denial scheme” be silenced or will First Amendment rights prevail?
While no one can predict the outcome of all that is pending in the judicial branch or the possibility that racketeering charges similar to what took place with the tobacco industry will add to the legal morass, this latest turn of events suggests a long journey to the ultimate conclusion of the controversy.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.