Exxon Mobil ‘s “Green Preening”

by John McClaughry

Here’s a news item some will find surprising. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a conservative business-oriented association of legislators and corporation interests. Recently it debated a resolution calling for a review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 “Endangerment Finding.” That’s the finding that the Obama EPA made that carbon dioxide emissions are pollutants that endanger human health.  This is ridiculous, but in a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court said that EPA could do it.

A group of corporate members, led by ExxonMobil and the Edison Electric Institute trade association, packed the meeting room with lobbyists and allies and indicated they would vote against the resolution. The sponsor, a state legislator, realized the corporate opposition was intense, and although a straw vote showed that the legislators favored it, he withdrew it.

The conservative Heartland Institute, which had helped draft the resolution, said “Big corporations like ExxonMobil and trade groups like EEI have put their profits and ‘green’ virtue signaling above sound science and the interests of their customers….Rescinding the Endangerment Finding is the logical and necessary next step. We are optimistic that the self-serving regulatory capture and green preening of big corporations like ExxonMobil may delay but will not prevent that step.”

Remember that the New York attorney general, flanked by Al Gore and Vermont’s AG Bill Sorrell, held a news conference in April 2016 to vow a legal war against ExxonMobil. Now it looks like ExxonMobil changed sides.

- John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
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