Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that she has explored ways to “take action” on turning climate-change denial into a federal crime.
Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse used a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to liken companies that refute certain environmental studies to the tobacco industry once downplaying the correlation between smoking and cancer. The Rhode Island senator then asked Lynch why the Obama administration has “done nothing” to civilly pursue energy companies in court.
“This matter has been discussed. We have received information about it and have referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on,” Lynch replied, CNS News reported Wednesday.
Whitehouse said something must be done about the so-called “mischief” of the energy industry and the “climate-denial apparatus” it has created.
“Are there any civil cases with the United States as plaintiff within DOJ’s civil division in which the FBI is preparing the case for the civil division?” Whitehouse asked, the website reported.
“Are you regarding climate-change issues?” Lynch replied.
“Regarding any matter,” Whitehouse asked.
“I couldn’t give you that information right now,” Lynch said.
Whitehouse’s questioning comes one month after the U.S. Supreme Court put the brakes on President Obama’s climate-change agenda. A 5-4 ruling on Feb. 9 halted Obama’s regulations on carbon emissions until a litany of lawsuits by 27 states are resolved. The states argued Obama’s EPA regulations were tantamount to “an unprecedented power grab,” WND reported.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagen and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
Lawsuits related to Obama’s regulations, which aim to cut carbon emissions from electrical plants by 32 percent by 2030, are predicted to continue at least into 2017. The Supreme Court is expected to revisit the issue at that time.
“This is going to be an enormous generational challenge,” Obama said Feb. 12 during a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in California, WND reported. “There are going to be people constantly pushing back and making sure we keep clinging to old dirty fuels and a carbon-emitting economic strategy that we need to be moving away from. We need to be investing in the future, not the past. Instead of subsidizing … the oil industry, we should be investing in solar and wind and battery technology.”