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Schneiderman responds to House Science Committee subpoena, Syracuse Father's Day shooting

Tom Magnarelli
New York State Attorney General Eric Scheniderman responds to reporters at Syracuse City Hall.

The House of Representative’s Science Committee has issued subpoenas to the state attorney generals of New York and Massachusetts over an investigation those offices are conducting into fossil fuel companies including ExxonMobil. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his investigation is an inquiry into whether Exxon is overstating the value of its assets and oil reserves and understating the risks of using fossil fuels.  

"The chairman of the committee on Science Space and Technology is making what to us is a pretty ludicrous assertion, that rather than trying to protect the rights of citizens to ensure that business fraud, and could be very significant business fraud we could talk about inflating up assets by many billions of dollars, their claim is that this is a politically charged effort to silence descending views on climate,” Schneiderman said on a recent visit to Syracuse.

Schneiderman said his office is looking forward to responding to the House subpoena but they will continue with their investigation of ExxonMobil.

"We're not going to be intimidated by people who take a lot of money from fossil fuel companies and then do their bidding," Schneiderman said.

Chairman Lamar Smith of the House Science Committee has said Schneiderman's investigation impedes on scientists' free speech when it comes to differing views on climate change. Schneiderman said the First Amendment does not give the right to commit fraud.

Syracuse Father's Day shooting

Schneiderman said his office is no longer investigating the Father’s Day shooting in Syracuse during which a man was shot and killed and an officer fired her gun. Schneiderman said his office has determined that the man killed, 41-year-old Gary Porter, was armed.

“We had eye witnesses confirming the testimony of the police officer," Schneiderman said. "We have ballistics evidence. We looked at this and are very confident it does not fall within our jurisdiction.”

An executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year requires the state attorney general to investigate in police shootings of unarmed civilians. Schneiderman said his office talks to everyone on all sides and he personally meets with the families of the victims. Schneiderman said the investigation is handed over to Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.