Gov. Brown calls out Texas and West Virginia officials on climate change comments

California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the Carbon Neutrality Initiative on the campus of UC San Diego on Oct. 27.
(Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)
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In a sharply worded letter penned just days before an international summit in Paris, Gov. Jerry Brown is accusing attorneys general in two states of “crass obstructionism” in their effort to raise doubts about one of President Obama’s key climate change initiatives.

On Wednesday, Brown wrote to officials in Texas and West Virginia and accused them of seeking to score political points in their recent attempt to cast doubt on the legality of U.S. efforts.

“Frankly, your thoughts here are, at best legally flimsy,” Brown said in his letter to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “At worst, you’re sending a dangerous message to the world: on climate change, do nothing.”


The two officials sent their own letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday, asking him to tell attendees of next month’s United Nations climate summit that the Obama climate plan is being challenged in court and that U.S. participation in any international effort must be ratified by the Senate.

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Two dozen states have filed lawsuits to block the Clean Power Plan. Last month, the governor signaled that California would seek to defend the federal effort to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Brown, who has increasingly moved toward making climate change his legacy issue, said that the federal effort provides plenty of leeway for states to comply as they see fit.

“You do not speak for California,” the governor said in his letter. “You do not speak for the other cities, counties, and states across America that stand firmly with the President and have intervened to defend the Clean Power Plan.”

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This is not Brown’s first jab at climate change critics on official state stationery. This past summer, he asked GOP presidential candidates to detail their plans to address the warming of the planet. And in September, he singled out Ben Carson for his statement that there is not “overwhelming evidence” of a human link to climate change.

The governor leaves next week for the U.N. summit on climate change in Paris, as he seeks to make the issue a key part of his political and policy legacy.

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