by Craig Richardson, E&E Legal President
As Appearing on RealClear Energy
Revealing the clandestine interactions between environmental activists and left-leaning state officials who are promoting climate change lawsuits is a challenge, but a clear, disturbing picture has emerged regarding climate litigation filed in Rhode Island. Make no mistake; leftist politicians in Rhode Island who are suing energy companies are only in it for the money.
As way of background, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin initiated a lawsuit using the legally dubious “public nuisance” statute against just 14 energy producers in 2018, holding them alone financially responsible for “climate change” and for related damages not only alleged to have occurred, but for damages that may or may not be sustained at some point in the future. Never mind that the state itself is a major direct emitter of greenhouse gases through its state buildings, fleet of vehicles, and public works projects.
Using a Narragansett sea wall as a backdrop for his photo-op announcement of the lawsuit, Kilmartin spared no rhetoric vilifying “Big Oil” for supposedly “concealing the dangers” of global warming to promote their “ever-increasing revenues in their pockets.” But thanks to some astonishingly candid remarks made by a high-ranking state official, we now know this had little to do with sea walls, ocean levels or climate, and everything to do with revenue – lots of it – for the small state with an enormous budget deficit.