How the Science Committee’s Exxon Charade Distracts From Real Science
by Naomi Ages
September 15, 2016
Instead of taking on any of the work that the chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology could do to address the catastrophic effects that climate change will have on the people of the U.S., Representative Smith has decided the best move is to invite fossil fuel-funded witnesses to support his meritless efforts.
Do you love charades? I do. But I play it on my own time, for entertainment purposes. Yesterday, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) put together one of the biggest charades we’ve seen, disguised as a Congressional hearing.
Representative Smith used our tax dollars to call politicians and legal scholars to protect Exxon Mobil from being investigated for potential fraud.
Rep. Smith claimed that the purpose of his charade was to investigate the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s — which he chairs — ability to investigate the investigations. If that makes any sense, he called the hearing shortly after he served the subpoenas on the Attorneys General of New York and Massachusetts, who are investigating whether Exxon committed fraud by keeping relevant information on the risks of climate change from its shareholders and the public – potentially violating state laws.
— Rodrigo Estrada (@ruy_estrada) September 14, 2016
Those subpoenas were also served on non-governmental organizations that have worked extensively to uncover and publicize Exxon’s massive climate denial scheme.
None of the parties served with the subpoenas complied.
Smith’s move backfired because it is basically bullying to protect the interests of Exxon and other big oil and gas companies.
Instead of taking on any of the work that the chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology could do to address the catastrophic effects that climate change will have on the people of the U.S., Smith has decided the best move was to invite fossil-fuel-funded witnesses to support his meritless effort.
This faux GOP concern for scientists is such a joke. They deny basic science and subpoenaed NOAA. Give me a break. #ExxonKnew
— Jamie Henn (@Agent350) September 14, 2016
Let’s be clear: Lamar Smith has taken almost $700,000 from the fossil fuel industry and he is now using his political influence to prevent a giant oil and gas company from being investigated for potential fraud.
While Smith and friends were commending each other — for basically putting corporate interests over the people — the very fact that there was no vote or internal bipartisan discussion by the Committee before serving the subpoenas was barely addressed.
A letter went out from the Science GOP to these organizations without ANY consultation with the Minority. #ExxonKnew 2/
— Rep Donna F Edwards (@repdonnaedwards) September 14, 2016
Another major thing missing in the discussion was Smith and friends’ hypocrisy in claiming to be standing up for scientists. No one who got a subpoena is attacking science, or scientists. Greenpeace fully supports scientists! But let’s be clear: The attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts are investigating Exxon for potentially covering up its own scientists’ research to avoid regulations and protect profits. The NGOs are calling for Exxon to be held accountable for denying climate change. Meanwhile, Lamar Smith has been attacking science and scientists for years. On the taxpayers’ dime.
Rep. Bill Foster (D-Il) said it clearly: “I hope this hearing is not another gigantic waste of time and taxpayer money”. I shared the hope, but that’s unlikely.
— Bill Foster (@RepBillFoster) September 14, 2016
This is why thousands of people are calling on the Department of Justice to open an investigation on Exxon’s climate denial.
The people of the United States deserve to know the truth about climate denial, and we also deserve a better future. Our livelihoods shouldn’t have to suffer from runaway climate change that corporations like Exxon denied for years.