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A leaked memo obtained by the Daily Caller has suggested billionaire activist Tom Steyer was more deeply involved in the anti-Exxon campaign that was launched by New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman back in 2015.
The memo, which the Daily Caller cites in full, includes agenda items such as, “Weaken the political influence of the oil industry by leveraging the Exxon investigation by Inside Climate News and the New York Attorney General” and “Identify message and messengers to contrast climate denial and other oppositional activities of Exxon and other U.S. oil companies with the pro-Paris positioning of European companies and the planning for low-carbon futures developed by Shell. Evaluate strategy to target Exxon management.”
The memo also includes a reference to the lawsuit Schneiderman initiated against Exxon on allegations of concealing its knowledge of the effects its business had on the environment and misleading shareholders and the public with this concealment.
According to the memo, the NY Attorney General sought an opportunity to talk with Tom Steyer four months after the investigation into Exxon began and, says one of the people involved in the meeting that produced the memo, “Eric Schneiderman would like to have a call with Tom regarding support for his race for governor . . . regarding Exxon case.”
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The meeting took place in 2015, and next year Steyer distanced himself from Schneiderman’s probe into Exxon. “We’re definitely not pushing this thing,” Steyer told Politico at the time. “We are not part of this effort,” he said.
The push against Exxon was only the beginning. To date, several municipalities, including California’s Oakland and San Francisco, are suing Big Oil companies, blaming them for the effects of climate change on their environment. In the Oakland and San Francisco case, the presiding judge in March shocked the environmentalist community by ruling there was no conspiracy on Big Oil’s part to suppress facts related to climate change.
Earlier this month, another judge dealt another blow to the anti-oil campaign by questioning the merit of NYC mayor Bill de Blasio’s case against Big Oil. “The firehouses all have trucks. The Sanitation Department has trucks. If you open the door and go out to Foley Square, you’re going to see five police cars. Does the city have clean hands?” federal judge John Keenan said at the hearing of arguments in the case to establish whether it should go ahead.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.