Ahead of a Congressional hearing held by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), members of Congress, law experts, and environmental groups gathered at the Capitol to highlight all that Exxon knew and buried about climate change, and to push back on the Chairman’s overreaching subpoenas.
The event featured prominent members of Congress including Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), who have been leading the charge against Exxon to hold the fossil fuel company for its role in orchestrating a decades-long campaign of deception and misinformation about climate change.
At the event, Sharon Eubanks, the former Department of Justice lawyer who led the historical suit against Big Tobacco, echoed the call for a federal investigation into Exxon. Representing the climate movement, May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director, and Jesse Bragg, Corporate Accountability International Media Director, spoke to financial ties between Big Oil and the Science Committee, as well as climate impacts that likely could have been curbed if Exxon had told the truth when its scientists warned executives about climate change.
Rep. Smith’s hearing is set to feature professors of law who are expected to exclusively focus on affirming the Committee’s authority to subpoena environmental groups and the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts. At least two of Rep. Smith’s witnesses, Ronald Rotunda and Elizabeth Price Foley, have significant ties to fossil fuel industry-funded groups such as the Heartland Institute and the Koch-funded Cato Institute, both which have funding ties to “dark money” financial channels Donors Trust and Donors Capital.
Since 1998, Rep. Smith has received a total of $675,597 from the fossil fuel industry, including $24,770 over the course of his career which came directly from ExxonMobil — making oil and gas his most generous industry contributor throughout his career.
This event took place the day after thousands across the country, with a large rally in Washington, DC, rallied in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and Indigenous Peoples who are protecting people and planet from the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Just this week, NASA confirmed that August 2016 was the hottest month in history, marking it the sixteenth hottest consecutive month on record.