Environmental group says U.S. cannot do business with oil company that intentionally misleads Americans about climate change
New York, NY — Today, Waterkeeper Alliance, represented by Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, submitted a petition to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking it to end all federal contracts with ExxonMobil. The international clean water advocate says the United States government should not use taxpayer money to do business with a company that has intentionally misled the American people about climate change — for nearly four decades.
“ExxonMobil kept its knowledge of climate change a secret while using lies to build a generation of climate change deniers. The company continues to push government policy that goes against proven science and exacerbates the greatest threat to humanity and America’s national security,” said Waterkeeper Alliance President Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “American tax dollars should not be making a morally bankrupt business richer. We must cut our financial support for this outlaw corporation.”
The petition argues that ExxonMobil internal documents have revealed the corporation’s executives and scientists understood that fossil fuels could cause catastrophic climate change since at least the 1970’s. Despite having this knowledge, Exxon ran robust propaganda campaigns and testified to Congress that the science of climate change was inconclusive and that it was unclear whether burning of fossil fuels was a cause of climate change. During that period, the corporation made hundreds of billions in profit from fossil fuels while climate change impacts grew in severity.
Today, ExxonMobil continues to fund anti-climate change groups even though it was urged by Congress to stop funding such groups in 2006.
This behavior involves willful misrepresentation of climate change facts (by ExxonMobil and through its proxies) and harassment of climate scientists. Through this conduct, ExxonMobil has repeatedly sought to avoid responsibility for how its behavior affects the environment, public health, and the ability of communities to prevent or to survive the present and future impacts of climate change.
“ExxonMobil’s systematic efforts to undermine the public’s belief in climate change has significantly thwarted our nation’s ability to take aggressive measures to remedy this crisis and mitigate the damage,” said Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “We have a moral obligation to ensure deceitful companies like Exxon no longer profit from public dollars.”
EPA, under the leadership of the Obama Administration, has the power to initiate a process, through suspension or debarment, that would ban ExxonMobil from federal government contracts. ExxonMobil received over $750 million in U.S. government contracts in 2015 alone.
Waterkeeper Alliance’s petition also cites ExxonMobil’s continued pattern of failure to comply with U.S. environmental, worker safety, and other regulatory requirements resulting in injuries to human health and the environment.
“EPA has the power to restore our faith in the values and integrity of our government by ensuring American dollars go to good businesses,” said Todd Ommen, managing attorney for the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic. “Now is the time to push back against this era of misinformation and move toward climate leadership built on truth and a respect for science.”