The House Committee on Oversight and Reform released findings from an investigation into Big Oil companies showing that giants like Chevron, BP, Shell, and Exxon will seemingly do everything they can to keep the U.S. reliant on fossil fuels—no matter the environmental cost. Chevron, for instance, wants to remain in the oil and gas industry to take advantage of “retreating” competition. Much of the companies’ claims also amounted to greenwashing.
BP CEO Bernard Looney said he sees natural gas as a “huge opportunity” for the company given the fact that it’s marketed as a more eco-friendly option than other fuel sources. Despite what people like the Ohio GOP think, natural gas is anything but “green.” As with Chevron, BP “continues to invest in a future dependent on fossil fuels,” the Committee found. The company claimed in an internal Q3 memo from 2017 that it would be increasing its oil and gas development despite calls to outright end fossil fuel projects altogether.
“Today's news confirms what we already know; Big Oil is fundamentally unserious about addressing the climate crisis,” Accountable.US Director of Energy and Environment Jordan Schreiber said in a statement:
“For years the industry has spent millions on flashy marketing campaigns signaling support for a low-carbon future while they spew dangerous climate-warming pollution into our communities and lobby Congress to continue the country's status quo reliance on dirty fuels. Whether it’s greenwashing or price gouging, Big Oil will stop at nothing to keep their billion-dollar profits flowing into corporate coffers."
Some of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s findings also include information about the American Petroleum Institute, a massive trade group known for pushing back against climate change mitigation policies and funding candidates willing to go along with their pollution-first agendas. API continued to push for natural gas use and development, while also jumping at ineffective solutions such as reducing emissions from flaring.
API president and CEO Mike Sommers told board members that flaring, albeit with fewer emissions, offered “an opportunity to further secure the industry’s license to operate.” Many Big Oil bigwigs also see opportunities on public lands for the oil and gas industry to continue enlarging its footprint, planet be damned.
That’s exactly what many Republicans want and it’s been a losing platform in many states like New Mexico, home to climate-focused candidates like Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and conservationist Gabe Vasquez, who will soon represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District. It’s worth noting that no Republicans from the committee signed on to its memo released today. The trove of emails from oil companies and the API is also facing pushback from Big Oil companies.
Democrats—and most folks plugged in to uncovering Big Oil’s lies—stood by the trove of emails, internal memos, shareholder information, and more. “Today’s new evidence makes clear that these companies know their climate pledges are inadequate, but are prioritizing Big Oil’s record profits over the human costs of climate change,” committee chair Carolyn Maloney said in a statement. “It’s time for the fossil fuel industry to stop lying to the American people and finally take serious steps to reduce emissions and address the global climate crisis they helped create.”