Carolyn Maloney, the Chair of House Oversight Committee (D.New York), announced her plans to subpoena documents to oil and gas companies in order to discover their role as climate denialists.
Exxon and BP, Chevron, Shell and the American Petroleum Institute are just a few of the oil giants. The Chamber of Commerce and the lobbying group Chamber of Commerce also have their interests represented by the American Petroleum Institute and the trade association American Petroleum Institute. will be includedin the subpoena. This is a major victory for climate advocates who had previously relied on testimony from former employees and public documents to understand the extent to which corporations lie. for decades.
The subpoena will force the companies to disclose documents on so-called “shadow groups” recently uncovered by reporters. An Exxon lobbyist was captured on video earlier this year admitting to using shadow organizations to defeat legislation that would address climate crisis. He targeted specific senators. like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).
Companies will also have to hand over documents from their executive boards describing corporate strategies to subvert climate action or spread lies about climate crisis.
Climate activists and researchers have highlighted Maloney’s subpoenas as a vital step toward accountability for the oil and gas industry — and, perhaps, a step toward its decline.
“For all the skeletons we’ve already found in Big Oil’s closet, the reality is we’ve only been looking through the keyhole at a few hundred key documents, uncovered by tenacious journalists and scholars in archives around the world,” Geoffrey Supran, a researcher at Harvard University who has been instrumental in uncovering fossil fuel lies, told Truthout.
“I believe the American public deserve to know the truth,” Supran continued. “This is where congressional authority to demand documents comes in, and why, as with the tobacco hearings of the 1990s, this hearing and its announcement of subpoenas could be a watershed moment, blowing that closet door wide open and exposing thousands — if not millions — of damning documents that will likely bring more skeletons tumbling out.”
After a hearing lasting over six hours, the announcement was made at the close of which there was testimony from leaders of oil and natural gas companies about their role in spreading climate misinformation. Exxon and the other oil and gas companies knew about their contributions to climate change for decades. However, they have not spent sufficient time to research it. billions of dollars spreading climate denial — all while raking in billions in subsidiesThe U.S. government.
During the hearing Maloney said that she hoped “today would be a turning point for the oil industry.” Though valuable information was revealed during the hearingIt was mostly filled with CEOs lieThey bragged for hours about their supposed commitments to address the climate crisis, while refusing to acknowledge that it is a serious threat to humanity.
Lawmakers have triedTo hold the fossil fuel industry responsible in the past, oil and gas companies have repeatedly lied, delayed, and dodged accountability. Maloney and Rep. Ro Khanna (D.California), who are the chair of the Subcommittee on Environment in the committee, requested that oil and gas companies submit documentation of this disinformation before the hearing.
After missing deadline after deadline, the corporations submitted tens of thousands of pages of documents at the last minute — but rather than submitting relevant internal documents, they submitted a number of documents that were already publicly available. “I have tried very hard to obtain this information voluntarily, but the oil companies employ the same tactics they used for decades on climate policy: delay and obstruction,” Maloney said.
“One entity sent in 1,500 pages printed from their own website, available publicly along with 4,000 pages of newsletters filled with industry press releases,” she continued. “Others sent us thousands of pages of publicly available annual reports and the company’s postings on Facebook and LinkedIn.”
Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky), a ranking member of the Oversight Committee, attempted to rebut Maloney’s subpoena threat, saying that the request for fossil fuel companies to send in documents was “an infringement on their First Amendment rights.” Maloney responded by pointing out that the thousands of pages they sent in were nonsensical and had nothing to do with the information that the committee was seeking.
It’s unclear what Comer is referring to when he references the First Amendment, which disallows Congress from restricting freedom of speech and the press. A private corporation can request documents in a completely different manner than, for instance, Republicans. Protests being outlawed, as they attempted in backlash to the movement for Black lives — a genuine violation of First Amendment rights.
Rather, Comer’s Comment was aContinued conservative trend of invoking First Amendment for years pretty much anything. Other Republicans made similar claimsA host of other issues were also addressed earlier in the hearing. misleading and absurd commentsPraise the industry that destroyed the climate.