Fossil Fuel Giants Subpoenaed in House Disinformation Investigation

A press release was issued Tuesday from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.). The press release contained an announcement that Rep. Maloney would be issuing subpoenas to six top fossil fuel entities, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP America, Shell, American Petroleum Institute, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The impending subpoenas are a result of the entities’ failure to produce important documents that were requested in the ongoing investigation regarding fossil fuel disinformation, according to the release.

Rep. Maloney previously mentioned her intent to file the subpoenas at last week’s hearing concerning the matter, where top executives in the fossil fuel industry were testifying before the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Although the six entities had been asked earlier in September for documents detailing their role in the disinformation campaign, the responded to those requests by providing the committee with only “non-substantive, publicly available materials.”

Maloney said regarding the subpoenas, “I tried very hard to obtain this information voluntarily. But the oil companies employed the same tactics they used for decades on climate policy – delay and obstruction.” She expanded by saying that despite her relative selectivity in issuing subpoenas thus far when compared to past Chairmen, she feels that the “code red” situation the climate currently presents warrants this level of urgency. She is confident that with the subpoenas, the Committee will be able to “get to the bottom of the oil industry’s disinformation campaign.”

Each actor that has been subpoenaed will be required to provide the committee with documents detailing their role in contributing to climate change, their role in funding third parties to spread climate disinformation, and their marketing and lobbying efforts on climate change. Each entity will have until November 16 to provide the materials.