One of the attorneys general responsible for a years-long climate investigation against Exxon Mobil is now endorsing a slew of policies designed to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.
Carbon taxes and other green energy policies are required to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels, New York AG Eric Schneiderman said in a statement Wednesday. He is also preparing to sue the Trump administration for repealing the Clean Power Plan.
New York must hit man-made global warming head-on, Schneiderman said. He also suggested that the state should move forward on “legislation to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including a carbon tax, while expanding investment in the people and places hit hardest by climate change.”
He joins a coalition of environmental and labor groups pushing for legislation in 2018 calling for a carbon tax plowing more taxpayer dollars into green energy pet projects. They also plan to target oil companies they argue are responsible for contributing to climate change.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, is reticent to support a carbon tax outright, noting that federal action would help prevent other states without such a tax from gaining a competitive advantage against New York. Cuomo is still a big hitter inside the state’s green energy juggernaut.
Cuomo committed New York to using huge amounts of wind power 2030 in a State of the State speech in January, focusing especially on offshore wind.
“New York’s unparalleled commitment to offshore wind power will create new, high-paying jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, establish a new, reliable source of energy for millions of New Yorkers, and solidify New York’s status as a national clean energy leader,” the New York governor said at the time.
Cuomo is still hesitant about moving full bore into carbon taxes, but Schneiderman seems ready, willing, and able to ratchet up the climate battle.
He engaged in a years-long probe into the oil company’s alleged concealing of climate change data from shareholders and the public – some conservatives argue the crusade and Schneiderman’s anti-Trump positions are a ruse for raising campaign donations.
Conservative legal groups have criticized in the past the Democrat’s unwillingness to disclose email communications between the AG office and wealthy environmentalist donors, such as Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Family Fund, and billionaire activist Tom Steyer – many of whom have publicly supported going after both Trump and energy companies.
His office uses Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) “law enforcement” exemption to justify blocking the requests, and claims his communication with the donors is part of the Exxon investigation. Schneiderman’s bellicose actions against the president and the White House’s climate agenda have won him plaudits from well-heeled donors.
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