New York Attorney General Subpoenas Five Energy Companies

On Sept. 14, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sent subpoenas to five major energy companies, seeking information about the companies' analyses of financial risks of their greenhouse gas emissions and the disclosure of such risks to their shareholders.

Cuomo is using a state securities law, the Martin Act, in the investigation of AES Corp., Dominion Resources, Xcel Energy, Dynegy and Peabody Energy. In letters sent to the top executives of the energy companies, the attorney general wrote, "Climate change is one of the most pressing environmental challenges facing the world today. Emissions from U.S. power plants constitute 30 percent of total U.S. carbon emissions."

The letters also state that "Any one of the several new or likely regulatory initiatives for CO2 emissions from power plants -- including state carbon controls, EPA's regulations under the Clean Air Act, or the enactment of federal global warming legislation -- would add a significant cost to carbon-intensive coal generation."

The attorney general also wrote that "Selective disclosure of favorable information or omission of unfavorable information concerning climate change is misleading."

According to Peabody Energy, the letters' claims of nondisclosure were inaccurate and were written to "advance a political agenda."

"Peabody is happy to point out our clear disclosures regarding climate change and correct the letter's inaccuracies," Peabody officials stated. "For instance, the letter states that we don't have climate disclosure ... but in fact we do, in multiple places in our (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) filings on Form 10-K, annual report and social responsibility report. These are all available via Internet for anyone wanting to research the company."

To view the letters, go to

http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2007/sep/sep17a_07.html.

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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