County of Multnomah v. Exxon Mobil, et al.

When the news of this Oregon County lawsuit, filed on June 22, 2023 happened, I was in the midst of a complicated, distracting, time-consuming switch of residences. In my rapid first screensearch into the filing for ye olde “reposition global warming” memos ‘evidence,’ which is the cornerstone ‘evidence’ hallmark (worthless as that memo set is) of these mindlessly repetitive “Exxon Knew”-style lawsuits, I initially thought a dissection of this latest lawsuit would be just a quick checklist comparison to my Puerto Rico v Exxon lawsuit dissection — they both contained identical wording and identical errors concerning the “reposition global warming” memos.

It would be a simply matter to then point out that this identical lawsuit blunder was committed by a law firm 3700 miles away from Puerto Rico, thus the plain overarching question implied by deep examination and comparison of all these lawsuits is elemental: who actually are the dummies writing this “Global Warming / #ExxonKnew Show”?

However, when I finally had time to sift deeper through this Oregon filing, it turns out the same question obviously applies, but the blunders within this one pointing to the Puerto Rico filing and other lawsuits in a key way are … well … not quite that simple.

Let’s first start with what Multnomah v. Exxon shares with Puerto Rico and the 16 Sher Edling law firm boilerplate copy filings:

“reposition global warming” memos …. of course. How utterly predictable. When it’s the very best the enviros have in their arsenal for hurling the accusation about fossil fuel execs’ sinister disinformation plans, it’s what they lead with, no matter where and when these accusers pop up – decades back or mere weeks ago.

✓ “Doomsday / Chicken” newspaper ads …. of course. How utterly predictable. When those two never-published ads are the best you have in your arsenal to prove fossil fuel execs carried out sinister disinformation campaigns, its what you lead with, whether you are “expert” Naomi Oreskes, or you are the lead lawyer in a fleet of state city / county / etc lawsuits, or if you are just some music videographer getting default endorsements from big-name climate people who don’t question a thing about your ‘Corrupt Oil Execs’ accusation.

The pointless Richard Lawson memo …. of course. How completely predictable. Complete with the only source any of these lawsuits has for that memo, the chapter line Naomi Oreskes contributed to the completely obscure book “How Well do Facts Travel?” which defendants would be hard-pressed to challenge because of its obscurity. The Chapter that Oreskes also featured …. wait for it … ye olde “reposition global warming” memos. One has to wonder, if she indeed consulted with the Sher Edling law firm for their 2017 San Mateo County v Chevron lawsuit, did her consultation include telling them how she was the go-to source in that one (with almost the identical wording as in this latest 2023 filing)? If so, how then did this same thing end up six years later in Multnomah v. Exxon and 5 years later in Puerto Rico v Exxon? Three different law firms, the latter two never attributing the citation to Sher Edling’s multi-filed lawsuits. Incidentally – of course Lawson and the National Coal Association couldn’t sit on the sidelines and freely allow Al Gore’s anti-science half-truths steamroller over the fossil fuel industry. It’s a science-based industry, it would be irresponsible to capitulate to emotion-driven environmental agendas. Nothing corrupt about that.

See the accusation pattern forming in these lawsuits?

One more, to illustrate a skewed angle repetition that erupted in the Puerto Rico filing that’s repeated identically in this newest Multnomah filing, a detail I hadn’t fully comprehended in my dissection of Puerto Rico: ✓ the “bankrolling” of skeptic climate scientists, with specific reference to Dr Willie Soon. As I detailed in my dissection of Delaware v BP, the Sher Edling law firm had an unbroken streak up until that one of directly citing a Smithsonian Institution webpage about Dr Soon’s supposed failure to disclose who funded his research. But then Sher Edling switched to using an Internet Archive page instead, because the original Smithsonian page vanished. Why did it disappear? Because the Smithsonian could find no evidence of wrongdoing about disclosing his funding. In my dissection of Puerto Rico, my mistake was to simply note that the filing repeated a baseless accusation, but cited alternative source links in its footnotes for that section. I didn’t check to see where Puerto Rico’s link goes for the Smithsonian page.

It goes to the LegiStorm website. Click on the “Original Press Release” link there, and it takes you to Smithsonian’s blank “403 – Access Denied” page. LegiStorm clearly identifies itself as being a database of Members of Congress and congressional staff. It is not an archivist of museum website pages. The Internet Archive Smithsonian capture Sher Edling’s last 2022 New Jersey filing used for the original Smithsonian page still functions fine. It is inexplicable that the law firm handling the Puerto Rico filing would use an archive link out of a site that is not intended for that purpose. It is therefore even more highly suspect that the law firm for Multnomah utilizes the identical inexplicable LegiStorm citation link.

So far, this Multnomah filing resembles a really cheap copy of the Puerto Rico filing, including their identically repeated false accusation about Dr S Fred Singer being a participant in the Western Fuels Association’s “Information Council for the Environment” (ICE) public relations campaign. In direct correspondence with me, Dr Singer expressed not once but twice that he had no familiarity whatsoever with the ICE campaign, he was that far removed from it.

But where that goes somewhat awry is Multnomah‘s seemingly obligatory effort to trot out the second-most viable looking (yet still worthless!) ‘leaked memos’ set, namely ye olde American Petroleum Institute “victory will be achieved” memos.

The Puerto Rico law firm for oddly made it their centerpiece, apparently going into considerable effort to retype the whole thing out of those really scratchy, degraded photocopies first trumpeted by Greenpeace back in 1998 and endlessly trumpeted by other accusers despite how tough it was to read the whole set. The lead lawyer for Puerto Rico is very proud of that centerpiece effort (hat tip to my Facebook Friend Kurt Womack for the alert about her) while getting the entire thrust of API’s effort totally wrong. Read through the actual set’s clearly legible text I linked to in my January 2019 blog post about the conflicting claims of who first leaked the memo set, and you’ll see the memo items were nothing but a set of truisms on what would be accomplished if the public became fully aware of all the science, instead of getting only the IPCC / NASA / NOAA side the mainstream media chooses to report.

This Multnomah filing took a slightly different route on the “victory will be achieved” memos — the same route all the “Exxon Knew” lawsuits took prior to the Puerto Rico filing. Multnomah switched back to showing those horrible old Greenpeace scans. Who do they cite as a source where people can read the memos on their own? Just like the Puerto Rico filing, Multnomah‘s source for the memos is seen three pages later in a footnote citation for the “victory memo” — the Inside Climate News organization. Who does ICN site as their source? In arguably citation cascade disinformation fashion, it takes a while to get there, but the eventual result (as I described in my February 2020 blog post “Greenpeace People, for their API Memos Scans before they were Against Them”) is no less than a direct copy from Greenpeace’s copy – same scratches and smudges all the way back to 1998. And who does ICN cite for the copy, to corroborate this? As seen in my Vermont v Exxon dissection, ICN’s Feb 21, 2015 accusation article against Dr Willie Soon has a link for the “victory plan” which goes straight to* Greenpeace’s Kert Davies (* if that link displays a blank page, try this archive version). What’s significant about the Feb 21, 2015 date of the ICN accusation article? It’s just two days before the date I showed in my August 17, 2023 GelbspanFiles post about Kert Davies’ then-upcoming meeting with New York State lawyers in the NY AG’s office concerning “industry-paid corrupt skeptic climate scientists.”

Again, see the patterns forming here?

Adding further insult to injury, this Multnomah filing repeats Puerto Rico’s blunder guess of what a murky signature was in one of the actual ICE campaign docs – “E. Erie.” Had Puerto Rico’s law firm staff done the most basic of further digging into that 50-page Greenpeace/Ozone Action-sourced documents scans pile, they would’ve easily seen another doc which clearly showed “Bill Brier” as the signature. Had Multnomah’s law firm staff fact-checked what they were copying, they would not have repeated that clumsy mistake. A law firm attorney / intern does not have to be a climatologist or a rocket scientist to figure out this fact

Same applies regarding Multnomah’s accusation that Dr Singer and his Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) organization was a participant in forming the “victory will be achieved” memos.’ The Multnomah filing just words it a bit differently under their lousy Greenpeace scan photocopy, compared what was seen in the Puerto Rico filing. As I already detailed in my dissection of Puerto Rico, that Singer/SEPP accusation was debunked in a mandatory correction the New York Times was obligated to print for their ‘news breaking’ 1998 report about those memos. Again, no need to be a rocket scientist here.

I have my fun with visual audio/visual analogies; the more these maladroit filings get filed, the harder I’ll hit on their fatal faults, it’s a sound I hope to instill in the minds of the core accusation promulgators in a way they can’t stop hearing. The more they recklessly sail on at breakneck speed on this litigation pursuit angle based on worthless memos, the more certain their fate is about plowing headlong into their own iceberg-sized mountain of fatal faults. This litigation effort will sink, it is a mathematical certainty.