Environmental Extremism and the Assault on Free Speech

Frank VernuccioEnvironmental Extremism and the Assault on Free Speech

by Frank V. Vernuccio

An unprecedented legal attack, in utter violation of the First Amendment, has been launched against a think tank. According to Claude Walker, the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)  has committed the “offense” of disagreeing with Progressive extremists on the issue of climate change. The move is in line with the anti-free speech action of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch who “referred to the FBI”   consideration of whether to prosecute those who dare to question the claims of environmental extremists. New York State’s own Attorney General has played a key role in attempted to criminalize free speech regarding global warming.

According to CEI, “The subpoena requests a decade’s worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information. It demands that CEI produce these materials from 20 years ago, from 1997-2007….”

In a statement on CEI’s website, General Counsel Sam Kazman pledged: “CEI will vigorously fight to quash this subpoena. It is an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association for Attorney General Walker to bring such intimidating demands against a nonprofit group. If Walker and his allies succeed, the real victims will be all Americans, whose access to affordable energy will be hit by one costly regulation after another, while scientific and policy debates are wiped out one subpoena at a time.”

In a reply to the subpoena, which has more in common with actions taken by totalitarian regimes than anything in American jurisprudence, CEI’s legal counsel stated:

“The subpoena that you served on the Competitive Enterprise Institute (“CEI”) is a blatant attempt to intimidate and harass an organization for advancing views that you oppose. There is no way to understand your demand that CEI turn over all of its internal documents concerning climate change and its communications…other than as an effort to punish it for its public policy views, chill its associations, and silence its advocacy. You acknowledged as much in your remarks at the March 29 “AGs United for Clean Power” press conference in New York. You said that you launched this investigation not to carry out any law-enforcement duty, but to ‘make it clear to our residents as well as the American people that we have to do something transformational’ about climate change, stop ‘rely[ing] on fossil fuel,’ and ‘look at reliable energy.’ You are entitled to your opinions on public policy, but you have no right to wield your power as a prosecutor to advance a policy agenda by persecuting those who disagree with you. That is, in fact, the law: ‘If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

The subpoena has prompted intense opposition by those in the media worried about the dictatorial nature of both it and the actions of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal stated: “Sometimes we wonder if we’re still living in the land of the free.”

The actions of the climate radicals becomes more extreme as the science against their point of view becomes more obvious.  They refuse to discuss key facts such as the lack of any warming for almost two decades; the fact that, long before factories and cars existed, the Earth regularly cooled and heated; (Europe was warmer in the 10th Century A.D. and during the Roman Empire, and it was colder during the “Little Ice Age” which began in 1300 A.D.) and the revelation that other planets have endured temperature increases at about the same time the Earth did, despite the absence of human activity. They also refuse, in their bid to sanction any activities that may theoretically cause warming, to discuss the findings of Russian and German solar scientists who believe that decreased sun activity may be the harbinger of colder temperatures for a good portion of the next 50 years.

The howls of the climate extremists extend to absolute fabrications.  The claim that the scientific community unanimously agrees with them is little short of sheer nonsense. Over 31,000 scientists have objected, for example, to President Obama’s claim that the matter is “settled science.”

It is increasingly apparent that the excuse of global warming is being used to ram a series of unpopular leftist economic policies down the throats of Americans. As the lack of science and overt conflicts of interest are exposed, the result is a fascist-like attempt to silence critics through harassing law suits.

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