Tag Archives: ExxonMobil

PR firm accused of greenwashing big oil is helping organize COP27

The US agency has a “shameful track record of spreading disinformation” but has been hired by the Egyptian government

By Ben Webster  Published 10-21-2022 by openDemocracy

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27, taking place next month in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, is being promoted by PR firm Hill+Knowlton, which has been accused of greenwashing | Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

The US public relations firm helping Egypt organise COP27 also works for major oil companies and has been accused of greenwashing on their behalf, openDemocracy can reveal.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which has worked for ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco, is managing communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference, which will take place next month in Sharm El Sheikh. Continue reading

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Supreme Court Gives Biden DOJ a Chance to Prove Its Commitment to Climate Justice

“Doubling down on the department’s Trump-era support of Big Oil would constitute a betrayal,” said one climate organization.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10=3-2022 by Common Dreams

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Screenshot: CNBC

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday invited the Biden Justice Department to offer its position on a hugely consequential case in which oil giants are attempting to move climate liability lawsuits from state to federal courts, where they believe they would be more likely to prevail against efforts to make them pay for damaging the environment.

In Suncor Energy Inc. v. Board of County Commissioners of Boulder County, Suncor and ExxonMobil are urging the conservative-dominated Supreme Court to intervene after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the fossil fuel companies’ argument that such climate liability cases belong in federal court. Continue reading

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Just 27 Billionaires Have Spent $90 Million to Buy GOP Congress: Report

“They’re counting on that ‘small’ investment in anti-tax Republicans to save them billions in taxes,” said Americans for Tax Fairness, which conducted the analysis.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder and CEO of Blackstone, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2018. Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

A few dozen billionaires are spending tens of millions of dollars on the 2022 midterm elections—mostly to support Republican candidates, including many who have parroted the dangerous lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen—in a bid to ensure that Congress is full of lawmakers willing “to make their wealthy benefactors even richer,” according to a fresh analysis.

Titled Billionaires Buying Elections, the report from Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) details how “billionaires are increasingly using their personal fortunes and the profits of connected corporations to drown out regular voters’ voices and elect hand-picked candidates who further rig the nation’s economy—especially the tax system.” Continue reading

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‘Resounding Victory’: Court Rules Exxon Must Face Trial Over Climate Lies

“We look forward to proceeding with our case and having our day in court to show how Exxon is breaking the law and to put an end to the deception once and for all,” said Massachusetts AG Maura Healey.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 5-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Climate activists protested outside ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting in Irving, Texas on May 29, 2019. (Photo: 350.org/Flickr/cc)

The Massachusetts high court on Tuesday rejected ExxonMobil’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state, meaning the biggest oil giant in the U.S. must stand trial for allegations that it lied to the public about the climate emergency and the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving it.

The lawsuit filed in 2019 by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey accuses Exxon of violating the state’s consumer protection laws through a decadeslong effort to conceal what it knew about the negative environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels. Continue reading

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Greenland’s government bans oil drilling, leads indigenous resistance to extractive capitalism

The young indigenous leadership of Múte Bourup Egede is battling for green sovereignty in a time of climate collapse

By Adam Ramsay and Aaron White.  Published 11-10-2021 by openDemocracy

Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Greenland Prime Minister Múte Bourup Egede. Photo: Secretary Antony Blinken/Twitter

 

In 2016, Greenland’s then minister responsible for economic development, Vittus Qujaukitsoq, welcomed the appointment of Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, as US secretary of state. Despite representing the centre-Left party Siumut (Forward) and being surrounded by some of the most visible consequences of the warming world, Qujaukitsoq and his colleagues saw the growing potential for mining and drilling brought by the melting glaciers on the world’s biggest island as an opportunity to bring in the cash which would allow the long-desired independence from Denmark. Continue reading

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Ahead of Historic House Hearing, Fresh Big Oil Misinformation Campaign Exposed

“It’s always helpful to remember that big fossil fuel companies (besides being overwhelmingly responsible for carbon pollution) are also skeevy disinformation hucksters.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-27-2021

Action on Jan 11, 2017 right before the start of ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson confirmation hearings. Photo: 350.org/Twitter/CC

An investigation by HEATED and Earther revealed Wednesday that fossil fuel industry advertising in some of the most popular U.S. political newsletters “has exploded” as Democrats in Congress prepare to grill leaders of oil majors and trade groups about their contributions to climate disinformation.

Journalists Emily Atkin and Molly Taft examined ads in Punchbowl News’ daily political email newsletter as well as two climate-related newsletters, “Axios Generate” and Politico‘s “Morning Energy,” leading up the U.S. House of Representatives hearing scheduled for Thursday. Continue reading

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‘This Is a Scandal’: Documents Reveal Obama’s EPA Approved Toxic Chemicals for Fracking in 2011

“We still don’t know the full extent of toxic chemicals that companies are using in their fracking operations. Why is the EPA allowing them to poison our communities without consequence?”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2021

A fracking rig behind a housing development Photo: WildEarth Guardians/flickr/CC

Between 2012 and 2020, fossil fuel corporations injected potentially carcinogenic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or chemicals that can degrade into PFAS, into the ground while fracking for oil and gas, after former President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency approved their use despite agency scientists’ concerns about toxicity.

The EPA’s approval in 2011 of three new compounds for use in oil and gas drilling or fracking that can eventually break down into PFAS, also called “forever chemicals,” was not publicized until Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) obtained internal records from the agency through a Freedom of Information Act request, the New York Times reported Monday after reviewing the files.

According to PSR’s new reportFracking with “Forever Chemicals, oil and gas companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron, and others engaged in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have since 2012 pumped toxic chemicals that can form PFAS into more than 1,200 wells in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming.

While the Times noted that the newly released documents constitute some of the earliest evidence of the possible presence of PFAS in fracking fluids, PSR’s report warns that “the lack of full disclosure of chemicals used in oil and gas operations raises the potential that PFAS could have been used even more extensively than records indicate, both geographically and in other stages of the oil and gas extraction process, such as drilling, that precede the underground injections known as fracking.”

“It’s very disturbing to see the extent to which critical information about these chemicals is shielded from public view,” Barbara Gottlieb, PSR’s Environment & Health Program director, said Monday in a press release. “The lack of transparency about fracking chemicals puts human health at risk.”

As the Times reported:

In a consent order issued for the three chemicals on Oct. 26, 2011, EPA scientists pointed to preliminary evidence that, under some conditions, the chemicals could “degrade in the environment” into substances akin to PFOA, a kind of PFAS chemical, and could “persist in the environment” and “be toxic to people, wild mammals, and birds.” The EPA scientists recommended additional testing. Those tests were not mandatory and there is no indication that they were carried out.

“The EPA identified serious health risks associated with chemicals proposed for use in oil and gas extraction, and yet allowed those chemicals to be used commercially with very lax regulation,” Dusty Horwitt, a researcher at PSR, told the newspaper.

In a statement released Monday, Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, called the PSR report “alarming,” and said it “confirms what hundreds of scientific studies and thousands of pages of data have already shown over the last decade: fracking is inherently hazardous to the health and safety of people and communities in proximity to it, and it should be banned entirely.”

As PSR notes, PFAS—highly potent toxins that accumulate in the body and persist in the environment—pose a threat to human and environmental well-being. Negative health effects linked to PFAS include low infant birth weights, disruptions of the immune and reproductive systems, and cancer.

“The potential that these chemicals are being used in oil and gas operations should prompt regulators to take swift action to investigate the extent of this use, pathways of exposure, and whether people are being harmed,” said Linda Birnbaum, board-certified Ph.D. toxicologist and former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Hauter added that “this says nothing of the dreadful impact fossil fuel extraction and burning is having on our runaway climate crisis. Fracking threatens every person on the planet, directly or indirectly.”

According to the Times:

In a 2016 report, the EPA identified more than 1,600 chemicals used in drilling and fracking, or found in fracking wastewater, including close to 200 that were deemed carcinogens or toxic to human health. The same EPA report warned that fracking fluid could escape from drill sites into the groundwater and that leaks could spring from underground wells that store millions of gallons of wastewater.

Communities near drilling sites have long complained of contaminated water and health problems that they say are related. The lack of disclosure on what sort of chemicals are present has hindered diagnoses or treatment. Various peer-reviewed studies have found evidence of illnesses and other health effects among people living near oil and gas sites, a disproportionate burden of which fall on people of color and other underserved or marginalized communities.

“The Obama-Biden administration approved the use of toxic PFAS chemicals for fracking a decade ago,” said Hauter, “and all these years later, President Joe Biden’s practices haven’t seemed to change a bit.”

“The Biden administration has claimed to be concerned about PFAS contamination throughout the country,” Hauter said. “Biden himself pledged during the campaign to halt new fracking on federal lands. Meanwhile, this administration is approving new fracking permits at a pace similar to Trump, with no letup in sight.”

Earlier this month, whistleblowers at the EPA accused the Biden administration of continuing the “war on science,” with managers at the agency allegedly modifying reports about the risks posed by chemicals and retaliating against employees who report the misconduct.

As Common Dreams reported, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a formal complaint on behalf of four scientists with the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, demanding an investigation into reports that high-level employees routinely delete crucial information from chemical risk assessments or change the documents’ conclusions to give the impression that the chemicals in question are safer.

Calling Monday’s revelations about the Obama administration’s decision to greenlight the use of PFAS in fracking “a scandal that should lead every nightly news program,” Jamie Henn, co-founder of 350.org and director of Fossil Free Media, noted that “we still don’t know the full extent of toxic chemicals that companies are using in their fracking operations.”

“Why is the EPA allowing them to poison our communities without conscience?” he asked.

Hauter called on Biden “to immediately make good on his promise to halt new fracking on federal lands,” adding that “his administration must take urgent action to contain the use of PFAS chemicals and their deadly spread into our water and our communities.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
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‘Bombshell’ Secret Footage of ExxonMobil Lobbyists Sparks Calls for Action by Congress

“We demand Congress immediately investigate Exxon and fossil fuel companies’ climate crimes, and make polluters pay for their destruction,” said a 350.org campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-30-2021

Keith McCoy, a senior director in ExxonMobil’s Washington, D.C. government affairs team, was secretly recorded by Unearthed, Greenpeace U.K.’s investigative journalism arm. (Photo: Screenshot/Unearthed via Channel 4 News)

While ExxonMobil’s decades of sowing public doubt about climate science and the impact of fossil fuels have provoked various lawsuits, secretly recorded videos released Wednesday expose how the company continues to fight against U.S. efforts to tackle climate emergency.

Published by Unearthed, Greenpeace U.K.’s investigative journalism arm, and the British Channel 4 News, the footage of ExxonMobil lobbyists sparked new calls for congressional action to hold the oil and gas giant accountable. Continue reading

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Biden EPA Lining Up With Chemical Industry Against Push to Curb Microplastics: Greenpeace

“While you might expect Trump’s EPA to align with the oil and chemical industry against protections for the American people from potentially harmful plastic chemicals, the Biden administration must do better.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-28-2021

Microplastics in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Photo: Chesapeake Bay Program/flickr/CC

A Greenpeace investigation revealed Monday that the Biden administration appears sympathetic to oil and chemical industry giants—not the public, scientists, and public health advocates—regarding a push in Europe to curb the use of microplastics in everyday products.

According to a report by Unearthed Greenpeace UK’s investigative journalism unit, a senior policy advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named Karissa Kovner exchanged emails with the American Chemical Council (ACC) in April 2019 regarding a proposal by the Swiss government to list microplastic UV-328 in the Stockholm Convention, the U.N.’s global treaty on chemicals that don’t easily break down in nature. Continue reading

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Under Cover of Thanksgiving, Trump Administration Pushes to Relax Rules Protecting Birds

The proposal—which the administration admits would likely lead to more avian deaths—would let energy and other companies off the hook for “incidentally” killing birds.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2020

A Bohemian waxwing spotted in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on December 27, 2012. (Photo: Keith Williams/Flickr/cc)

Despite acknowledging that the move would lead to an increase in the 500 million to one billion birds that die each year in the United States due to human activity, the Trump administration on Friday published a proposed industry-friendly relaxation of a century-old treaty that protects more than 1,000 avian species.

As part of the administration’s race to rush through as many regulatory rollbacks as possible before President-elect Joe Biden enters office on January 20, the U.S. Department of the Interior released an analysis that sets the stage for modification of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s interpretation of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Continue reading

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