SEC Drops Investigation of Exxon Mobil’s “Climate Change Disclosures”

In a move, most likely, resulting from lawsuits brought by the city of New York and California cities against fossil fuel companies being dismissed and a new White House Administration, The New York Times reports the Securities and Exchange Commission has withdrawn a probe into Exxon Mobil’s accounting procedures and the risks climate change regulations pose to the company’s business practices.

The investigation was initiated during the Obama Administration two years ago and Exxon Mobil turned over almost 4 million pages of documents to the agency at the SEC’s request during August of that year. Conveniently, a cache of those same documents end up in the offices of the Center for International Environmental Law. The group, in turn, created a website using what looks like selectively chosen documents they probably obtained through friends at the SEC. At the website, environmentalists try to make the case that #ExxonKnew that their fossil fuel products contributed to rising CO2 in the atmosphere 60 years ago and that the company was organizing to block air pollution rules.

However, investigations on the part of the Attorneys General of New York and Massachusetts continue. During June of last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that then New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused Exxon Mobil of issuing misleading information to investors on how climate change impacts the company’s operations. Schneiderman alleged Exxon utilized internal information while claiming different information was used in public. Exxon denies the accusations made by environmentalists and New York State’s, now former, chief prosecutor.

Exxon Mobil not only complied fully with the SEC’s investigation but may have aided its accusers. The documents now in the hands of environmentalists could be used against the fossil fuel company down the line in future litigation or fundraising efforts. Thankfully, Exxon not only has been denying charges made against them but pushing back against lawsuits and other campaigns initiated by green groups use as a means to attack them.

Exxon is right that fossil fuels are necessary to meet the energy needs of the world’s population for years to come. Environmentalists oppose this because they oppose civilization and progress, including for people in developing countries that want better lives and standards of living.

CA Environmentalists Endorse Oil Field Wastewater Pollution

Despite previous tests showing that recycled wastewater is clean, California environmentalists oppose a recent decision by state regulators to allow continued dumping of oilfield wastewater at a wastewater treatment plant owned by Valley Water Treatment Company in Kern County.

KGET reports that the Center for Biological Diversity alleges that the water from the plant is contaminating numerous are groundwater aquifiers. The regulators have ordered the company running the wastewater plant to conduct a groundwater monitoring program, but fell short of ordering Valley Water Treatment Company from stopping the discharges.

During 2015, tests conducted by Chevron on treated oil field waste water supplied by the petroleum company to farmers in Kern County that use it to water their crops. Test results showed the water was not only safe but in compliance with the Cawelo Water District Standards.

Environmentalists oppose treatment of oil field wastewater because it is an extension of their opposition to using fossil fuels. Shut down water treatment of oilfield wastewater and using petroleum to provide energy for human’s needs becomes much harder to justify and water farmers use to enhance their crop yields is gone resulting in a reduced food supply.

Earth Day 2018 Was About Plastics Pollution—But Greens Missed Target — WUWT?

Guest essay By Steve Goreham April 22 was designated by the Earth Day Network as Earth Day 2018. This year’s Earth Day was dedicated to ending global plastic pollution. While efforts to reduce plastic pollution are needed, the campaign missed the mark by emphasizing measures to eliminate the use of plastics. Earth Day Network’s “Plastic […]

via Earth Day 2018 Was About Plastics Pollution—But Greens Missed Target — Watts Up With That?

New Zealand’s Oil Industry is Doomed

To the shock of the country’s oil industry, New Zealand’s government announced the destruction of its petroleum industry by imposing new caps on oil and gas drilling in Kiwi waters as part of the new Labour government’s campaign to address human induced climate change.

On Thursday, Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her government will No longer be granting any new offshore oil and gas exploration permits. Permits already approved will be honored, she said.

And with that New Zealand can count on rolling blackouts and an overall diminished quality of life thanks to the new socialist government New Zealand voters swept into power in January. Not surprisingly, the country’s oil and gas industry is, rightly, outraged.

Environmentalists are not concerned about climate change or even preserving the natural environment because what they ultimately want is political control over others and our way of life. New Zealand will soon learn this as Jacinda Ardern has set the country on to a path to economic ruin. Bye, bye New Zealand!

California lawsuits against “Big Oil” are in BIG trouble

A number of political entities from across the country have filed nuisance lawsuits against ExxonMobil and other petroleum companies in which Los Angeles may end up as the latest city to join in this legal extortion racket. The general complaint is that oil companies are causing climate change and all of the bad things that climate models forecast will happen.

Big Oil stands accused of failing to disclose the risks that climate change may pose to their investors. However, a fascinating article on Seeking Alpha suggests that plaintiffs from California may have undermined their case before the ink dried on their attorney’s legal brief.

Given the severity and specificity of the claimed harm and damages sought, it is peculiar that the disclosures in the plaintiff’s municipal and city bond issuance documents make very limited disclosures of any climate change risks. As a result, it appears these suits will either (A) create new economic risks and hazards for bond investors and, in the case of ‘wrapped’ deals, the bond insurers that wrap those California municipal debts or (B) provide the investors and bond insurers with the information with which to claim they have been defrauded by those municipalities.

Ironically, as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis, many of the same California counties that brought these latest environmental lawsuits filed suits against the five largest municipal bond insurers for “forcing” local governments to needlessly buy bond insurance in order to get higher credit ratings and issue debt with lower interest rates.

The article goes on to point out:

While the lawsuits claim significant harms to those cities and counties, those harms were not disclosed in the hundreds of bond issuances by those governments. In fact, while the plaintiffs in the suits claim grave and specific harms, their bond filings were largely silent on those risks and harms. As The Wall Street Journal highlighted in a headline today: “California Municipalities’ Debt Disclosures Contrast With Climate Warnings.” As a result, the issuers were almost certainly able to benefit from lower issuance costs that they would have been had they disclosed the risk to investors and, in the case of bonds that were wrapped by bond insurers, they likely paid lower insurance premiums than they would have had they fully disclosed the risks to the insurers.

As example, the City of Oakland claimed, in the lawsuits massive fossil-fuel production causes a gravely dangerous rate of global warming and ongoing and increasingly severe sea level rise harms to Oakland and that by 2050, a hundred year flood will occur every 2.3 years. These claims are in stark contrast to Oakland’s disclosures in its bond disclosures in this they state:

“The City is unable to predict when seismic events, fires or other natural events, such as sea rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm, could occur, when they may occur, and, if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the City or the local economy.”

Similarly, San Francisco, another plaintiff, claims it is planning to fortify its Seawall in an effort to protect itself from rising sea levels and that the short-term costs of doing so will be more than $500 million with long-term upgrade costs of $5 billion. In San Francisco’s bond disclosures, it has stated:

“The City is unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur, when they may occur, and if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the City and the local economy.”

Similar inconsistencies exist between the claimed harms and bond disclosures of Marin County, San Mateo County, the City of Imperial Beach, the County and City of Santa Cruz (the other plaintiffs in the lawsuits).

Golden State municipalities are so confident they will soon suffer damages resulting from human-caused climate change due to carbon emissions generated by fossil fuel use that they have filed nuisance lawsuits seeking large amounts of money in compensation from petroleum companies they blame. Yet, these same municipalities aren’t sure about the risks from man-made climate change, that they failed to disclose them in municipal bond offerings? It’s likely the non-California plaintiffs have the same problem.

Now graduation ceremonies harm the environment

Oregon’s Statesman Journal describes a new program undertaken by Oregon’s Green Schools that are based on the idea that graduation ceremonies harm the environment. The estimated 30,000 graduating students in state high schools will require caps, gowns and tassels, respectfully. But, like the article points out, the very next day they will be relegated to closets or even landfills. This, however, is the reason why the paper makes the case that you harm the environment by participating or even having graduation commemorations in the first place. It is due to the petroleum-based (those pesky fossil fuels again) outer wear graduates don for their graduation ceremonies.

The article then pitches for a new recycling program dreamed up by Oregon Green Schools utilizing a Corvallis-based non-profit to do the schools’ dirty work (pun intended). This is another lame but also ridiculous attempt to demonize human beings and the value we receive by celebrating our accomplishments. I have written about how environmentalists claim that events like Black Friday or even the production of Halloween candy is bad for the environment. Now, it is the observance of and dedications to our academic achievements that is the target of scorn by a news publication obviously slanted toward environmentalist ideas and promoting their dissemination. Environmentalism is now intervening by assaulting the pride we feel for our educational accomplishments.