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Democrats call on oil companies testifying on climate disinformation

Democrats call on oil companies testifying on climate disinformation

September 20, 2021: -On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee expanded its investigation into the fossil fuel industry’s involvement in spreading disinformation regarding the role fossil fuels play in causing climate change.

Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Subcommittee on the Environment Chairman Ro Khanna, D-Calif., calling on top executives at ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Shell, and lobbying groups American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which testifies before Congress in the coming month.

Oil and gas companies have faced many lawsuits from cities and states across the U.S. than their investments in campaigns to undermine climate policy and downplay the impact of burning fossil fuels on global warming.

The probe comes as Democrats look to pass significant climate and clean energy policy in the budget reconciliation bill, which has faced opposition from some fossil fuel companies.

On Thursday, in letters to the companies and groups, the committee requested documents on the reported role of the oil and gas industry in a long-term branding and lobbying campaign for climate disinformation and undermine climate policy.

The five most significant publicly traded oil and gas companies such as Exxon, Shell, Chevron, BP, and Total, spent $1 billion to promote misleading climate-related branding and lobbying amid 2015 and 2018, according to a report from climate lobbying group InfluenceMap that the committee cites in its letter.

“We are concerned that the fossil fuel industry has reaped huge profits for decades while they contribute to climate change that is devastating American communities, with the cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and ravaging the natural world,” read the letter to Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods.

“We are concerned that to protect those profits, the industry has led a coordinated effort to spread disinformation to mislead the public and prevent crucial action from addressing climate change,” the letter read.

The committee asked executives to produce documents related to disinformation by the end of the month and confirm by September 23 if they plan to appear at the hearing.

API spokeswoman Bethany Aronhalt said that the group “welcomes the opportunity to testify again” and “advance our priorities of pricing carbon, regulating methane, and reliably produce the American energy.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce spokesman Matt Letourneau said the committee’s leadership “has a fundamental misunderstanding” of the chamber’s position on climate change and work to forge solutions.

“The Chamber believes that the climate changes, that humans are contributing to those changes, and that inaction on climate is not an option,” he said. “We are aware that durable policy is made through bipartisan action, so we’ve been working hard with Congress members from both sides of the aisle to enact climate solutions,” he added.

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