Chairs Maloney and Khanna Demand Transcribed Interview with Exxon Lobbyist Following Damning Video

Jul 26, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (July 26, 2021)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, and Rep. Ro Khanna, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Environment, sent a letter to Keith McCoy, a senior lobbyist for ExxonMobil, requesting his appearance at a transcribed interview regarding efforts by ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies to mislead the public and Members of Congress about the dangers of fossil fuels and their role in causing global climate change.

 

“ExxonMobil has had scientific evidence about the danger posed by climate change since at least 1981,” wrote the Chairs.  “Yet for decades, the fossil fuel industry and its allies have used the same tactics as the tobacco industry to spread denial and doubt about the harm of its products—undermining the science and preventing serious action on climate change.  ExxonMobil has played a large role in these decades of climate disinformation.”   

 

In video clips aired by Channel 4 News in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2021, Mr. McCoy appeared with an undercover reporter from Greenpeace UK Unearthed.  During the interview, he acknowledged ExxonMobil’s deliberate efforts to mislead the public on climate change, saying, “Did we aggressively fight against some of the science?  Yes.”  He added:  “Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that’s true.”  Mr. McCoy also described ExxonMobil’s current public support for a price on carbon as an “advocacy tool” and “great talking point” that is unlikely to ever happen.

 

In other segments of the video, aired a day later, Mr. McCoy also described his efforts to influence Members of Congress on policy issues including defining natural gas as a clean energy source despite clear scientific evidence to the contrary, price on carbon, sanctions on Russia, and regulating plastics manufacturing.

 

“Your statements raise serious concerns about your role in ongoing efforts by ExxonMobil and the fossil fuel industry to spread climate disinformation, including through the use of ‘shadow groups,’ in order to block action needed to address climate change,” the Chairs added.

 

The United States saw an increase in emissions from the energy sector and in overall greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2019.  Carbon pollution emissions from fossil fuel combustion accounted for over 92 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019 and were responsible for most of the increase in U.S. emissions from 2009 to 2019.  The United States has experienced nineteen of the warmest years on record since 2000.   

 

The Chairs requested Mr. McCoy’s participation in a transcribed interview on August 9, 2021.

 

Click here to read today’s letter.

 

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117th Congress