March 29, 2016

Balderas joins coalition of AGs targeting climate change

Margaret Wright

Oil pump in southeast New Mexico.

New Mexico’s Attorney General is joining 16 other Attorneys General throughout the country to combat climate change.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. Courtesy photo.

Courtesy photo

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. Courtesy photo.

State Attorney General Hector Balderas made the announcement on Tuesday morning in a press release.

“We have been impacted by climate change, and we see its drastic effects in New Mexico—extreme drought, increased risk of severe forest fires, and the ruin of our wildlife and natural habitats,” Balderas said. “Our efforts will ensure that progress is made on climate change and that the public is fully aware of the effects on the health and well-being of New Mexico families.”

The coalition of will work together on investigations; the press release noted specifically investigations into what extractive energy companies knew about the risks of climate change and if they deliberately misled investors and the public.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed records from Exxon over the allegations in November of last year.

Earlier this year, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced such an investigation against Exxon Mobil. Reporters for the Columbia University Energy and Environmental Reporting Fellowship obtained and published internal documents that showed the company internally acknowledged climate change while publicly stating the science was not yet settled.

This prompted the California investigation, and they are not alone.

Massachusetts announced a probe on Tuesday.

The California, Massachusetts and New York Attorneys General are part of the coalition. Balderas is the only Attorney General from the region as part of the coalition; others are predominantly Democratic states on each coast.

The 17 members are also all part of a larger coalition, of 25 Attorneys General, who intervened to defend the “Clean Power Plan” put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency. The plan faces lawsuits from a number of states and companies who contend the plan is unreasonable and illegal.

The challenge is currently at the D.C. Circuit Appeals Court, but a potential equally-divided U.S. Supreme Court looms.