AG Claude Walker contradicts self on ‘danger’ of fossil fuels

What kind of a prosecuting attorney would sue one fossil fuel company to keep an oil refinery in his jurisdiction, then five months later launch an investigation of another, claiming that fossil fuel is a “product that is destroying the earth”?

Flanked by Al Gore and other left-wing climate alarmist attorneys general, Virgin Islands A.G. Claude Walker was part of a March 29 press conference called “AGs United For Clean Power.”  Walker then issued administrative subpoenas to ExxonMobil and free-market think-tank Competitive Enterprise Institute under auspices that their public statements about climate change violate the Virgin Islands' Criminally Influenced Corrupt Organizations law.

The investigation is highly controversial, and probably in violation of several constitutional rights protected by the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments.  Law professor Glenn Reynolds wrote that it may even be a criminal offense under a federal statute prohibiting conspiracies to violate constitutional rights.

At the press conference, Walker “pledged to do something ‘transformational’ to end ‘rel[iance] on fossil fuel,’” according to a lawsuit ExxonMobil filed against Walker last week in Texas, where it was served with Walker’s judge-less administrative subpoena.  Exxon’s lawsuit also notes that it has no offices or business presence in the Virgin Islands, and Walker lacks jurisdiction to conduct the investigation, among other troubling allegations in the lawsuit.

In the category of “you can’t make this stuff up,” in October last year, Walker sued Hovensa LLC, an oil refiner co-owned by Hess Corp and Venezuela, to keep open its Virgin Islands refinery so it could continue producing what Walker just five months later would call the “product that is destroying the earth.”

As reported in September at Bloomberg, Hovensa “filed for bankruptcy protection following years of environmental litigation, plunging oil prices and increased competition.”

Then, in October, Walker sued Hovensa, alleging that the financially crippled company was “violating the law by abandoning the refinery a decade before it fulfilled its obligation to operate it,” according to Argus News.  The lawsuit sought “damages of at least $1.5 [billion], which includes at least $150 [million] in annual benefits to the Virgin Islands in 2012-22 when Hess was obligated to continue operating the refinery.”

Walker seems to be a bit of a one-trick pony in his schizophrenic approach to prosecuting fossil fuel companies.  He sought treble damages against Hovensa to keep it operating in his jurisdiction under the same Criminally Influenced Corrupt Organizations law that allegedly is his basis for investigating Exxon, which is not operating in his jurisdiction.

Argus quotes Walker: “Shutting down the plant was not only devastating to the people of the Virgin Islands, it was, as our lawsuit lays out, also illegal,” and “the refinery shutdown cost thousands of jobs and caused ‘significant environmental consequences.’”

Several observers believe that the investigation of ExxonMobil and climate skeptics by the “Green 20” group of leftist state attorneys general is designed to extort settlements to fund green projects.  Claude Walker’s prosecutorial approach to fossil fuel companies clearly seems to indicate he’s in it for the money, not the principle.

What kind of a prosecuting attorney would sue one fossil fuel company to keep an oil refinery in his jurisdiction, then five months later launch an investigation of another, claiming that fossil fuel is a “product that is destroying the earth”?

Flanked by Al Gore and other left-wing climate alarmist attorneys general, Virgin Islands A.G. Claude Walker was part of a March 29 press conference called “AGs United For Clean Power.”  Walker then issued administrative subpoenas to ExxonMobil and free-market think-tank Competitive Enterprise Institute under auspices that their public statements about climate change violate the Virgin Islands' Criminally Influenced Corrupt Organizations law.

The investigation is highly controversial, and probably in violation of several constitutional rights protected by the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments.  Law professor Glenn Reynolds wrote that it may even be a criminal offense under a federal statute prohibiting conspiracies to violate constitutional rights.

At the press conference, Walker “pledged to do something ‘transformational’ to end ‘rel[iance] on fossil fuel,’” according to a lawsuit ExxonMobil filed against Walker last week in Texas, where it was served with Walker’s judge-less administrative subpoena.  Exxon’s lawsuit also notes that it has no offices or business presence in the Virgin Islands, and Walker lacks jurisdiction to conduct the investigation, among other troubling allegations in the lawsuit.

In the category of “you can’t make this stuff up,” in October last year, Walker sued Hovensa LLC, an oil refiner co-owned by Hess Corp and Venezuela, to keep open its Virgin Islands refinery so it could continue producing what Walker just five months later would call the “product that is destroying the earth.”

As reported in September at Bloomberg, Hovensa “filed for bankruptcy protection following years of environmental litigation, plunging oil prices and increased competition.”

Then, in October, Walker sued Hovensa, alleging that the financially crippled company was “violating the law by abandoning the refinery a decade before it fulfilled its obligation to operate it,” according to Argus News.  The lawsuit sought “damages of at least $1.5 [billion], which includes at least $150 [million] in annual benefits to the Virgin Islands in 2012-22 when Hess was obligated to continue operating the refinery.”

Walker seems to be a bit of a one-trick pony in his schizophrenic approach to prosecuting fossil fuel companies.  He sought treble damages against Hovensa to keep it operating in his jurisdiction under the same Criminally Influenced Corrupt Organizations law that allegedly is his basis for investigating Exxon, which is not operating in his jurisdiction.

Argus quotes Walker: “Shutting down the plant was not only devastating to the people of the Virgin Islands, it was, as our lawsuit lays out, also illegal,” and “the refinery shutdown cost thousands of jobs and caused ‘significant environmental consequences.’”

Several observers believe that the investigation of ExxonMobil and climate skeptics by the “Green 20” group of leftist state attorneys general is designed to extort settlements to fund green projects.  Claude Walker’s prosecutorial approach to fossil fuel companies clearly seems to indicate he’s in it for the money, not the principle.