As calls for an investigation continue to grow, members of Congress hint that inquiries could extend to other fossil fuel companies
Washington, DC — This afternoon, representatives from a wide ranging coalition of groups delivered the Department of Justice over 360,000 signatures on petitions calling for an investigation into ExxonMobil’s climate deception. Accompanying the signatures was a letter from over 50 leading environmental, social justice, and indigenous organizations calling on the Department to take action.
The petition signatures were collected by CREDO, Climate Hawks Vote, Environmental Action, Avaaz, Campaign for America’s Future, Climate Parents, ClimateTruth.org, Corporate Accountability International, DailyKos, Food & Water Watch, Moms Clean Air Force, MoveOn, The Nation, Sierra Club, the Working Families Party, and 350.org.
Over the last month, calls for DOJ investigation have grown, as members of Congress, Presidential candidates, and others have joined the effort. The New York Attorney General’s office launched its own Exxon investigation on November 5, issuing a subpoena to learn more about how the oil giant may have misled the public and its shareholders about the threat of global warming.
On a press call earlier today, Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) outlined Congressional efforts to build support for an investigation. Leiu and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) are circulating a letter amongst colleagues that they plan on sending to other fossil fuel companies to request information on how they too may have misled and deceived the public.
“The matter of an urgent response to climate change is so important and the allegations made against ExxonMobil are so startling, that a full investigation by the Department of Justice is most certainly warranted. The American public deserves to know whether or not ExxonMobil willfully undermined climate science for decades,” said Rep. Lieu.
The investigation into ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies has clear parallels to previous inquiries into how Big Tobacco misled the public for years about the links between cigarettes and cancer.
Climate Hawks Vote
“All fifty states are now suffering damages from Exxon Mobil’s greenhouse pollution, from sea level rise to wildfires, floods, and drought,” said RL Miller, President of Climate Hawks Vote. “The Department of Justice must investigate Exxon knew and what Exxon did, and then prosecute Exxon’s deliberate climate denial. If Attorney General Loretta Lynch fails to act, then our state attorneys general must step up to protect the American people.”
“Exxon’s clear understanding that fossil fuels cause climate change means the company’s turn to a denial campaign was a truly destructive act of greed,” said Elijah Zarlin, CREDO’s Director of Climate Campaigns. Zarlin continued, “Exxon executives chose to buy the political process for a few decades more of deadly profits, instead of acting when it could have made the biggest difference for humanity,” adding “the years Exxon squandered from their fraudulent denial campaign have cost us dearly, and Exxon should be held accountable.”
“It’s an outrage that Exxon conspired to hoodwink the public on the reality of climate change, and their decision to do so has placed American lives in peril,” stated Anthony Rogers-Wright, Policy Director of Environmental Action. “Lives have been altered and lives have been lost here and around the world. And instead of owning up to their depravity, Exxon is now doubling down on denial – denying what they did while also denying their scheme to fund climate denial think tanks like the Heartland Institute. DOJ should follow the leadership of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and prosecute Exxon for their campaign of lies and misinformation, which has clearly hurt people and the planet.”
Food & Water Watch
“The reckless quest to squeeze every last bit of oil and gas from the planet, consequences be damned, is a stark symbol of our broken democracy,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Like the tobacco companies before them, Exxon and the rest of the oil and gas industry must be brought to justice. They played the general public and policymakers for fools on an issue that is imperative to our survival.”
“Greenpeace USA has been exposing ExxonMobil’s climate denialism for over a decade. It’s outrageous, but we have the power to turn outrage into action. Governments and citizens need to hold ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies legally accountable for the damage their activities have caused to people and the planet,” said Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA.
Moms Clean Air Force
“For decades, ExxonMobil has contributed to national confusion, setting up fake debates on science and causing national paralysis in the face of a serious crisis,” said Dominique Browning, Senior Director of Moms Clean Air Force. “The result? Misinformed citizens, misinformed politicians, misinformed editors and reporters—unable to properly steer our democracy. We are in the race of our lives, and we should all be very angry, and very concerned. We need to get to the bottom of this.”
“Exxon must be investigated by the DOJ for knowingly deceiving the public about the role of its products in fueling the climate change that is putting our kids and communities, across the entire world, in harm’s way,” said Lisa Hoyos, Director and Co-Founder of Climate Parents. “Exxon actively stonewalled the full-scale clean energy expansion that should have started years ago; and has taken corporate negligence, along the lines of Union Carbide and Philip Morris, to an all-time low where no person or place is unaffected.”
“Exxon and its executives will go down in history for committing one of the most vile acts of greed ever perpetrated,” said Emily Southard, Deputy Director of ClimateTruth.org. “For 34 years, Exxon understood the connection between carbon emissions and climate change, yet chose to buy our political process and misinform the public to prevent any action that might damage their bottom line.”
Corporate Accountability International
“Exxon’s campaign of climate denial has had huge and far-reaching implications,” said Katherine Sawyer, Senior International Climate Organizer at Corporate Accountability International. “By denying knowledge of climate change and actively deceiving the public, Exxon has helped fabricate the climate ‘debate’ — and delayed necessary progress on climate change in the name of protecting its own profits. Now is the time to hold Exxon accountable for its deception — just as we’ve done with Big Tobacco — and to protect climate policymaking from Exxon and other big polluters.”
Working Families Party
“For decades, scientists have known about the reality of climate change and the existential threat it poses. It is difficult to believe one of the richest multinational corporations was not aware of this too. If Exxon and other fossil fuel companies were aware of the perils of climate change at the same time as they reaped hundreds of billions by making the problem worse and lied to their investors and the public, they committed a crime against the planet and every family that lives on it. We commend New York Attorney General Schneiderman for launching an investigation, and we urge the Department of Justice to do so as well.” — Bill Lipton, New York State Director, Working Families Party
“Given the stakes, this may be the greatest corporate scandal of all time, and now, in the hottest year ever recorded on our planet, is the time to find out all the details . Everyone is clear that Exxon behaved reprehensibly; the DOJ needs to find out if they broke the law as well.” — Bill McKibben, 350.org co-founder