'Illegitimate' Request Denied: GOP Gets Middle Finger for #ExxonKnew Ploy

Environmental groups that have become targets of a Republican-led effort to insulate ExxonMobil against accusations of fraud and climate science suppression dug in a bit deeper on Wednesday by refusing to submit to a Congressional inquiry on the matter. 

As Common Dreams previously reported, House Republicans with the Committee on Space, Science and Technology sent a letter (pdf) on May 18th to 17 attorneys general and eight environmental organizations—including 350.org, Greenpeace, and the Union of Concerned Scientists—claiming their #ExxonKnew effort amounted to a violation of climate deniers’ First Amendment rights and demanding that they submit communications related to state investigations into Exxon Mobil.

That over-broad request had a deadline of noon on June 1.

In a searing rebuke (pdf) sent Wednesday to committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Greenpeace attorney Abbe David Lowell questions whether the committee is “operating properly” or just acting out a “partisan effort to protect fossil fuel companies.”

The letter states:

Lowell argues that the request was unreasonably broad, and violated the groups’ rights to free speech and free assembly, as well as interfered with their right to petition government officials.

“To be clear, Greenpeace will always cooperate with any authorized and legitimate inquiry of Congress or anyone else into one of the most pressing issues of our time—one that will affect our children and their children for generations to come,” the letter concludes.

According to the Washington Post, other organizations targeted by the congressional committee also resisted.