Friday, February 10, 2017

Exxon Adviser Resigns Over Oil Giant’s ‘Targeted Attacks’ On NGOs

A research scholar at New York University has resigned from Exxon Mobil Corp.’s External Citizenship Advisory Panel, citing what she calls the oil giant’s “targeted attacks” on environmental groups under former CEO Rex Tillerson’s watch.In a letter this week to Exxon Mobil Foundation president Ben Soraci, Sarah Labowitz expressed her disgust with the company’s continued assault on organizations investigating whether Exxon covered up the risks of climate change...more

First, let's take a look at who was targeting Exxon:

Exxon’s current strain of legal trouble dates back to November 2015, when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed the oil giant to obtain documents related to allegations that it had lied to the public and its investors about the risks of climate change. In March, a coalition of state attorneys general, including Maura Healey of Massachusetts, pledged to crack down on corporate climate fraud, after InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times reported that Exxon executives were aware of the climate risks associated with carbon dioxide emissions but had funded research to cover up those risks and block solutions...
...To show what Exxon was up against, the spokesman shared a link to a draft agenda for a January meeting of environmental group leaders at the Rockefeller Family Fund. First covered by The Wall Street Journal in April and later published at The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative site, the letter appears to list several of the meeting participants’ common goals, including “to establish in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has pushed humanity (and all creation) toward climate chaos and grave harm.”

So you have all these state-elected attorneys, using taxpayer funds, going after Exxon. This is the same group that filed a brief in the D.C. circuit court to defend Obama's Clean Power Plan. They were being joined in a "targeted"effort by a group of environmental leaders to influence the public that Exxon is a "corrupt institution."

In the past we've seen corporate America cowering before such groups, and seeking to buy them off with grants and other goodies. Exxon chose not to follow the path established by their chicken-hearted brethren.

In June, Exxon hit back, filing a lawsuit against Healey in the company’s home state of Texas in an effort to bar a civil investigative demand from her office. Shortly thereafter, Labowitz told HuffPost, the company began advancing a conspiracy argument that she finds particularly troubling.

In October, Exxon filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, Texas, that sought to invalidate Schneiderman’s subpoena, arguing the investigations by the New York and Massachusetts AGs were “biased attempts to further a political agenda for financial gain.” The company claimed that “revelations from third-party disclosures about secret and deliberately concealed collaboration with anti-oil and gas activists and a private law firm” had shown the AGs were “incapable of impartial investigations” and were “attempting to silence political opponents.”
Exxon Mobil then turned its attention to non-governmental organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, warning them in a series of letters not to destroy or delete communications related to their probes of Exxon ― including communications with the press. The move hinted at future subpoenas.

I'm not always a fan of Big Oil, but in this case, I admire their effort to "vigorously defend" themselves from this herd of liberal lawyers and environmental pimps.

And their is more good news: 

 Labowitz’s departure comes just days after Tillerson, the former Exxon head, took over as President Donald Trump’s secretary of state.

This bodes well for the U.S. in any future climate negotiations or other international environmental claptrap. It is reasonable to expect Tillerson to "vigorously defend" U.S. interests. Just think how refreshing that will be.

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