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Exxon Mobil lobbyist duped by Greenpeace into revealing efforts

Exxon Mobil lobbyist duped by Greenpeace into revealing efforts

A UK Greenpeace investigative platform called Unearthed has lived up to its name by delivering a potentially damning video of senior ExxonMobil lobbyist Kevin McCoy to British news program Channel 4 News in which he spills the beans on the legal, but often shady, doings by the lobbying arm of the oil giant.

The practices outlined in the video include ExxonMobil using third parties to testify before Congress as well as publicly supporting efforts to curb climate change while privately urging politicians to gut legislation that would harm the company’s bottom line.

The duped McCoy thought he was having a video conference with head hunters courting him for a job, when in fact he was having a heart to heart with big oil nemesis Greenpeace.

Among the targets of ExxonMobil’s lobbying efforts were US senators whom it wants to oppose climate change elements in President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill. He listed a bipartisan bunch of lawmakers who he said were “crucial” to the company’s campaign. Among them were Sens. Chris Coons, Marco Rubio, Mark Kelly, John Cornyn, and most vitally Democratic swing vote Joe Manchin, who McCoy described as “the kingmaker” in the 50-50 Senate.

As far as members of congress unfriendly to ExxonMobil are concerned the lobbyist described a strategy to blunt their effectiveness by arranging for third-party organizations to take the brunt of harsh congressional questioning.

ExxonMobil lobbyist Kevin McCoy claims Sen. Joe Manchin is vital to blocking any federal taxes or regulations on the oil giant.
ExxonMobil lobbyist Kevin McCoy claims Sen. Joe Manchin is vital to blocking any federal taxes or regulations on the oil company.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

McCoy said, “We don’t want it to be us, to have these conversations, especially in a hearing. It’s getting our associations to step in and have those conversations and answer those tough questions and be for, the lack of a better term, the whipping boy for some of these members of congress.”

While all of this was going on behind the scenes the public face of ExxonMobil was extolling the virtue of saving the planet through measures such as a carbon tax. Why a carbon tax? According to McCoy, it is precisely because it is extremely unlikely to ever pass.

He stated that, “I will tell you there is not an appetite for a carbon tax. It is a non-starter. Nobody is going to propose a tax on all Americans. And the cynical side of me says yeah we kind of know that. But it gives us a talking point. We can say well what is ExxonMobil for? Well we’re for a carbon tax.”

According to its website, “ExxonMobil scientists have been involved in the forefront of climate research for four decades, understanding and working with the world’s leading experts on climate.” According to McCoy, such a claim is more public relations than actual concern about the environment.

ExxonMobil said Greenpeace has distorted their positions on the environment, but did not specifically deny the practices outlined by the job hunting McCoy.

About the author

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James Partridge

James has worked in various news organizations and now aims to make Stock Market Pioneer one of the best and fastest growing news websites in the U.S. He contributes to the US and World sections.

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