With Plagiarized Praise, Trump White House Becomes Mouthpiece for ExxonMobil
Yesterday, ExxonMobil announced plans to spend $20 billion to expand fossil fuel infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change. Just minutes after new CEO Darren Woods announced Exxon’s plans, Trump’s White House released its own statement praising the news, plagiarizing a paragraph verbatim from Exxon’s own.
While Trump claimed Exxon’s announcement as a victory of his campaign promises, this announcement originated from plans that began as far back as 2013.
“This plagiarized praise shows the Trump White House has become a mouthpiece for ExxonMobil,” said May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director. “Big Oil has long held a stranglehold over our economy and democracy. The only difference now, with Exxon’s own Rex Tillerson our Secretary of State, is that the industry is the government itself. This fossil fuel takeover of our government makes it ever more clear and urgent to hold Exxon and its ilk accountable for decades of climate destruction.”
Trump wielding official White House channels to praise a company could violate a law banning federal employees from using public positions to promote commercial products. Exxon is currently under investigation for what could be the worse case of corporate fraud in history, after reports revealed its in-house scientists warned executives about the dangers of fossil fuel use, and instead embarked on a decades-long campaign to sow doubt and block action.
Exxon has a long-standing reputation of exploiting communities in the Gulf, and around the world, all in the name of short-term profit. Gulf communities are still bearing the brunt of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, the costliest, and one of the deadliest, storm in US history.
"Has the federal government now fallen into a 'tail wagging the dog' scenario? The Trump administration continues to ignore the hard economic evidence that the fossil fuel industry is fast becoming an archaic notion, incapable and unresponsive of any resolve concerning its continued direct impacts to the Gulf region,” said Cherri Foytlin, State Director of Bold Louisiana. “Do we want jobs? Yes. Do we want jobs that destroy our planet and further exacerbate land loss? Not just 'no,' but 'hell no'! Bring us clean and safe renewable jobs, then we will sing your praises from the waters of every Bayou. Until then, this is not a day to celebrate, this is justice and opportunity once again denied to our citizenry."
Even as global temperatures rise and climate impacts intensify, Trump continues to hand more power over to the fossil fuel industry. With Exxon’s own Rex Tillerson now Secretary of State, US climate diplomacy lays in the hands of a rogue oil mogul.
“Here in Louisiana, the Exxon refinery dumped 4.4 million pounds of pollution on a neighborhood where the child poverty rate exceeds 40%. They had 890 accidents in a ten year span,” said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director, Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “Exxon has money to invest in plundering our Gulf of Mexico because they pollute children, they dump on communities here in Louisiana.”
Less than halfway through these first 100 days of the new presidency, the Trump administration has issued executive orders undoing hard-won protections of our communities and our planet. This includes slashing the enforcement budget of the EPA and the Earth Science budget of NOAA, ratcheting back economically proclaimed programs like the CAFE standards and Energy Star Program, and threatening to undo the Clean Power Plan and the historic Paris agreement.
“Trump and Exxon are a direct threat to a livable planet and the health of our communities,” said Boeve. “With each attack on our communities and climate, Trump’s administration is actively regressing, proving it will not be responsive to the will of the people. That’s why we’re taking real change into our own hands and bringing the fight to Washington this April.”
On April 29, movements for climate, jobs, and justice are taking the fight to Washington, D.C. for the People’s Climate Mobilization to resist the systems that attempt to divide us, and present a vision for the world that offers solutions necessary to tackle the climate crisis, bringing forth a 100% renewable energy revolution and an economy that truly works for all.