Oklahoma officials, others dispute California climate claim

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Officials from Oklahoma and more than a dozen other states have sent two letters to California’s insurance commissioner, asking that he stop pressing insurance companies to publicly disclose fossil fuel investments and divest from the coal industry, saying it only confuses consumers and unnecessarily brings politics into the insurance market.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has said the investments may be risky due to a move from fossil fuels to renewable energy because of climate change.

“I think it’s an absurd and political response from attorneys general and one governor of oil, gas and coal states,” Jones said Wednesday. “In reading their letter, they’re quite explicit that the concern is about their oil, gas and coal industry.

“Many of them are climate change deniers.” Jones told The Associated Pres on Wednesday, in response to a letter from Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, signed by 11 other attorneys general and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

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Nancy Kincaid, a spokeswoman for Jones, said his response also applies to a letter from Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak and signed by insurance commissioners in five other states.

Hunter said he does not deny climate change and that Jones’ assertion about financial risk is wrong, threatens energy and insurance companies, thousands of jobs in those industries, and violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause.

“He was trying to advance environmental policy at the expense of the companies he is tasked to regulate,” Hunter said.

“The whole idea is wrong-headed,” according to Hunter, whose letter dated Monday says renewable energy companies may be a greater financial risk.

“Nearly a hundred solar companies have failed or gone bankrupt in recent years,” Hunter wrote, mentioning Solyndra, SunEdison, SolarWorld and Suniva.

Doak’s letter, dated…

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