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Tue Jul 6, 2021, 09:26 PM

Exxon Exposed: Greenpeace Tricks Top Lobbyists into Naming Senators They Use to Block Climate Action [View all]

Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna, the chair of the House Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment, has announced plans to ask the CEOs of Exxon and other fossil fuel companies to testify before the committee about their role in blocking congressional action to address the climate emergency. Khanna made the request after Greenpeace UK released a video of two lobbyists discussing Exxon’s secretive efforts to fight climate initiatives in Washington, revealing how the oil giant supported a carbon tax to appear proactive about climate change while privately acknowledging that such a tax has no chance of being passed. We feature the complete video and speak to one of the activists involved with it. “The reality is that almost nothing has changed in the Exxon playbook,” says Charlie Kronick, senior climate adviser at Greenpeace UK. “This has been going on for decades.”


NARRATOR: This is Keith McCoy, one of ExxonMobil’s top Capitol Hill lobbyists. And this is Dan Easley. Until February this year, he was Exxon’s leading White House lobbyist. Unearthed posed as recruitment consultants and told them we had a client who admired their work. Then we interviewed them on Zoom and asked them to tell us what they and the other lobbyists at Exxon have been up to.

ExxonMobil is so powerful that the management suite at its global headquarters is known as the “God Pod.” Until recently, it was the biggest, richest corporation in the history of the world. For decades, critics have claimed Exxon deploys cynical, aggressive lobbying techniques to pull the strings of government, while running clandestine campaigns to block action on climate change, discredit its opponents and distract attention from its polluting activities. But not one of its serving senior executives has ever come clean about the Exxon playbook — until now.

Here’s what Dan Easley and Keith McCoy told us. Mr. McCoy revealed that, behind the scenes, the company has been working hard to undermine President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan. The White House proposal included spending hundreds of billions on clean energy and transport as part of the most ambitious clean energy legislation ever proposed by a U.S. president, and it would have been paid for by higher taxes on corporations like Exxon. But these ambitious proposals are on the verge of being defeated. According to Mr. McCoy, Exxon has been working to scale back the legislation and stop Exxon paying more tax. He told us which United States senators the company sought to recruit to their lobbying campaign — and they’re not all Republicans.


REPORTER: Who’s the crucial guys for you?

KEITH McCOY: Well, Senator Capito, who’s the ranking member on environment and public works. Joe Manchin, I talk to his office every week, and he is the kingmaker on this, because he’s a Democrat from West Virginia, which is a very conservative state. And he’s not shy about sort of staking his claim early and completely changing the debate. So, on the Democrat side, we look for the moderates on these issues. So it’s the Manchins. It’s the Sinemas. It’s the Testers.

NARRATOR: Exxon is even trying to get through to President Biden through his friend, Senator Chris Coons.

KEITH McCOY: One of the other ones that aren’t talked about is Senator Coons, who’s from Delaware, who has a very close relationship with Senator Biden. So we’ve been working with his office. As a matter of fact, our CEO is talking to him next Tuesday.

Then you take it out a little bit more, and you say, “OK, well, who’s up for reelection in 2022?” That’s Hassan. That’s Kelly. And then, obviously, the Republicans. We have a great relationship with the senators where we have assets. I can’t worry about the 2027 class, because they’re not focused on reelection. The 2022 class is focused on reelection, so I know I have them. Those are the Marco Rubios. Those are the Senator Kennedys. Those are the Senator Daines. So, you can have those conversations with them because they’re a captive audience. They know they need you, and I need them.

NARRATOR: Dan Easley left Exxon earlier this year, after nearly eight years lobbying for the corporation. He described just how big a problem Biden’s original proposal posed for oil and gas companies.

more transcript & video at link (from a zoom meeting with exxon guys)

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