ExxonMobil Employs Lobbyists? Who Knew?

The big ‘scandal’ drummed up by Greenpeace this past week was the ‘news’ that ExxonMobil employs lobbyists, one of whom boasts of doing his job overly aggressively. Using the very same false identity interview tactics employed by Project Veritas, Greenpeace had an operative pose as a corporate executive headhunter and entrapped one of Exxon’s Washington, DC lobbyists in a recorded interview in which he made some inflammatory claims, such as his boast that “politicians are like fish: you reel them in.”

While that is certainly a poor choice in analogies, is it really any great surprise? Greenpeace and some media outlets that pushed out its narrative on their own platforms also apparently consider it scandalous that the same lobbyist, a fellow named Keith McCoy, pointed out the fact that “…on the Democrat side, we look for the moderates on these issues.” Well, yeah, because moderate Democrats are more likely to support oil and gas than politicians on the far left. It would likely be a complete waste of time to try to talk energy issues with, for example, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, the two main sponsors of the “Green New Deal.”

In its piece echoing Greenpeace’s talking points, NPR quotes Lori Lodes, executive director of a group called Climate Power as saying “Now people know exactly what is happening behind the scenes,” Ms. Lodes called on senators to ignore the industry’s “deceptive practices and get to work on a strong reconciliation package that delivers on Biden’s promise of 100% clean electricity and reducing pollution.”

At its own website, Climate Power, in describing its mission, says “Climate Power integrates hard-hitting research, polling, state and national earned media, digital and paid media to influence the national conversation, embolden leaders to take immediate, bold climate action, and expose climate deniers and their oil and gas lobby allies.” In other words, Climate Power, like hundreds of its fellow organizations in the green lobby, spends a lot of money trying to influence politicians by demonizing the oil and gas and chemicals industries.

And by the way, all this money is not “dark” as Greenpeace’s fake news anchors claim in their videos. It’s all subject to public disclosure laws and it took about 3 minutes of using Google to discover these realities that NPR didn’t think it important to mention in its piece.

My favorite part of the Greenpeace videos is this piece, in which its operative interviews Cong. Ocasio-Cortez, who professes her shock that the staff of fellow Democrat West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, meet regularly with lobbyists from the oil and gas industry. It’s almost as if she is completely unaware of the reality that Sen. Manchin’s staff no doubt also does regular check-ins with lobbyists from, say, the coal industry that is such a big part of West Virginia’s economy.

Guess who else no doubt sends lobbyists to meet with the Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and his staff? How about the wind industry, or the solar industry, or the nuclear industry, or the biofuels industry, or the Sierra Club, the NRDC, the Center for Biological Diversity and every other green group that is part of the climate change lobby? Here’s a shocker: Even Tesla employs lobbyists. If you think those same green groups don’t also perform regular check-ins with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez herself, then you might want have a reality check-in with yourself.

The point here is not to defend lobbyists or what they do, although the truth is that they have been an integral piece of the legislative process in DC since the founding of the Republic. If we’re going to continue to have a functioning democracy, we’re going to always have lobbyists. All of these 2,000 – 3,000 page bills congress has become so fond of passing don’t just write themselves, after all.

The point is that this kind of silly game-playing by Greenpeace is in no way productive to the process of finding solutions to the world’s climate and energy issues. Engaging in this sort of gotcha tactic does nothing to advance public discussion and serves only to deepen already existent divides.

Our reality is that the world demands a rising amount of energy every day, and energy producers like Exxon and chemical manufacturers are critical to the world’s quality of life, and they need to be – and are working to be – an integral part of the solution. The plastics that Greenpeace demonizes in its pretend-newscast videos are integral parts of everyone’s daily lives – even the lobbyists employed by the green lobby and the fake reporters employed by Greenpeace itself.

The plastic waste issues depicted in the videos are overwhelmingly caused by bad policies in China, India and third-world nations. But without plastics, which serve as the delivery instruments for COVID-19 vaccines, or the fossil fuels that powered the distribution of them, the U.S. and the world would still be in the depths of a global pandemic. Pretending the “alternatives” to them that Greenpeace mentions without evidence could have served the same purpose in any scalable way is bluntly dishonest and counterproductive.

So, Exxon and other oil companies employ lobbyists. So does everyone else. Who do you think wrote the “Green New Deal,” anyway?

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