ExxonMobil oil refinery, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by WClarke [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Following a public spat over climate change legislation, oil giant ExxonMobil has pulled its membership from the Koch brothers-backed anti-climate-change lobbying group, American Legislative Exchange Council.
Neither ExxonMobil nor ALEC has commented publicly on the reasons for the company’s departure, but the move comes after ExxonMobil had an internal dispute with the organization late last year over moves to push the Trump administration to overturn a key legal finding that led the government to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide.
ALEC is known for its success in producing model legislation that is frequently passed by state legislatures, as well as for its pro-oil interests.
ExxonMobil is only the latest oil company to abandon ALEC, after BP, ConocoPhillips, and Occidental Petroleum all left the organization in recent years. Silicon Valley giants Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Yelp all left the organization in 2014 in protest over its climate-change denial policies.
According to a report in the Washington Examiner earlier this month, ExxonMobil representatives disagreed sharply with a draft resolution put forward at its meeting in December.
That proposal was put forward by another conservative ALEC member, the Heartland Institute, which is known for funding research that casts doubt on human-caused climate change.
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The Heartland Institute proposal would have lobbied the government to reverse the EPA’s 2009 “Endangerment Finding” that specified eight different greenhouse gases, including methane and carbon dioxide, are dangerous to human health because they contribute to global warming. ExxonMobil lobbied against the proposal, according to the Examiner.
The endangerment finding required the EPA to regulate CO2 emissions and led to regulations such as rising fuel economy standards and the Clean Power Plan, which the Trump administration is now trying to roll back.
Oil well (photo by John Hill)
“The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. There is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken to further quantify and assess the risks. ExxonMobil is taking action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its operations, helping consumers reduce their emissions, supporting research that leads to technology breakthroughs and participating in constructive dialogue on policy options,” ExxonMobil wrote on its website.
An ExxonMobil representative told the Examiner that it allowed its membership in ALEC to expire in June as part of a normal review of its corporate memberships.
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