Photo credit: Ed Uthman (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Ed Uthman (CC-By-SA 2.0)

This week at the Iowa House brought positive movement in a number of areas. While adjournment by April 19th is questionable, it is likely we will conclude our business for the year within the next two weeks. As I write this I must report to you my deep concern that the Iowa Attorney General, Tom Miller, has joined a coalition of mostly East Coast Attorneys General in an effort to advance the Climate Change agenda using the legal system to intimidate and silence businesses and organizations that do not subscribe to government’s conclusions that man and fossil fuels are driving climate change. The implications to our First Amendment rights of free speech and dissent are profound.

The United States Department of Justice is considering investigating companies that are skeptical of man-made climate change. Attorney General Janet Lynch and the Department of Justice appear to be looking for justification under consumer protection and RICO laws to investigate companies that have not been helpful in advancing the climate change agenda of the federal government.

This past week, Al Gore and a coalition of Democrat Attorneys General embraced this approach, announcing that they will investigate companies that are publically skeptical of man-made Climate Change. Attorneys General from California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, the U.S. Virgin Islands and IOWA are a part of this effort.

This action represents a coordinated effort to suppress dissent and assault the 1st Amendment, with the focus on silencing man-made climate change skeptics and punishing the fossil fuels industry.

Vigorous debate continues on the causes of Climate Change. As of March 27, 2016 researchers had published 133 papers for the year skeptical of man-made climate change, bringing the number to 660 of such studies appearing since January 2014.

There are numerous studies that support both positions on this issue. There is disagreement on the causes of Climate Change, and the debate continues on whether the changes are part of a cycle that has always occurred or is caused by fossil fuels and man’s carbon footprint. The disagreements are based on volumes of evidence on both sides. It is, therefore, vital for this debate to continue, and dangerous to attempt to silence differences of opinion. When scientific dissent was silenced in Spain, that country fell behind in research and innovation for decades, impacting their economy and quality of life.

This week I met with Eric Tabor from the Attorney General’s office to discuss this issue. During that meeting Mr. Tabor stated that this was not about stifling dissenters of man-made Climate Change. He said it was about consumer protection and ensuring that businesses do not mislead the public. But the facts suggest otherwise.

The New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman, is spearheading this effort. On his official web-site is this headline: “A.G. Schneiderman, Former Vice President Al Gore And A Coalition Of Attorneys General From Across The Country Announce Historic State-Based Effort To Combat Climate Change”

If in fact this is about consumer protection, as Mr. Tabor articulated, and not a politically motivated effort to silence opponents of man-made Climate Change, how does our Attorney General’s office explain this headline from the New York Attorney General, which does not even mention consumer protection?

If in fact the Iowa Attorney General’s objectives differ from what is stated by the New York Attorney General, who is the leader of this group, then why is our Attorney General involved?

The New York Attorney General’s web-site goes on to say: “Unprecedented Coalition Vows To Defend Climate Change Progress Made Under President Obama And To Push The Next President For Even More Aggressive Action”

“Schneiderman: Climate Change Is The Most Consequential Issue Of Our Time. This Unprecedented State-To-State Coordination Will Use All The Tools At Our Disposal To Fight For Climate Progress”

Once again, if this is about consumer protection, why is defending and advancing “Climate Progress” the stated mission?

The most chilling statement of all, for those who love liberty and the free expression of ideas, is this: “Will use all the tools at our disposal to fight for climate progress.”

The tools being talked about here can only mean those tools employed by the Attorneys General in charge of the justice systems of their states. Those tools consist of investigations, subpoenas, intimidation, lawsuits and prosecution. Their chilling conclusion is that man-made Climate Change cannot be debated since the government declares it to be true, and companies that disagree are misleading the public and therefore must be prosecuted. This effort is already underway. The Attorney General of the Virgin Islands, Claude Earl Walker, a former EPA official, issued a subpoena to the Competitive Enterprise Institute giving them less than 30 days to produce 20 years of documentation related to their research on Climate Change.

Wayne Stenehjem the Attorney General of North Dakota, stated “This attempt by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a coalition of East Coast Attorneys General to undermine the First Amendment, muzzle public discussion and intimidate those with a differing opinion on the issue of climate change is a blatant misuse of the power of their offices. The issue of climate change and the very real impact of climate change regulation on our nation’s economy and its people is vitally important and a free and unfettered debate is critical to determining the best course of action for our country.”

I am working with other legislators to shine the light of truth on this effort to assault 1st Amendment rights under the cover of consumer protection, of which our Attorney General is a part. I will add my signature to a letter asking General Miller to remove his name from this list of Attorneys General who have embarked on this dangerous path that intended or not, assaults the very foundations of our freedoms. His involvement in this effort violates the principles of the very documents he is sworn to defend – the Iowa & U.S. Constitutions. It is vital that, regardless of party affiliation, we resist efforts to undermine our Constitutional freedoms.

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