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Secretary of State and former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is pictured with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: Getty)

Exxon Waiver to Drill in Russia Rejected by Treasury Department

'If the Trump administration had allowed Exxon to drill for oil in Russia, people from around the country and from both sides of the aisle in Congress would have unleashed widespread resistance'

Nika Knight Beauchamp

Exxon has not been granted a waiver to bypass U.S. sanctions and partner with a Russian oil company to drill in the Baltic Sea.

In a one-page statement Friday, the Treasury Department announced that the decision was made in consultation with President Donald Trump.

"We will remain vigilant to make sure this egregious subversion of diplomacy for profit won't happen through any other channels."
—Cassady Craighill, Greenpeace USA
"In consultation with President Donald J. Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions," the statement read.

Exxon released a statement saying it "understand[s] the statement today by Secretary Mnuchin in consultation with President Trump," according to The Hill.

The State Department, which had a say in granting the waiver, is overseen by former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, and it is possible the decision to reject Exxon's request was a response to widespread and bipartisan outrage over the waiver application.

The Hill reported:

Exxon's waiver request was met with resistance from key lawmakers this week. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading Russia hawk, responded to news of Exxon's request with a Wednesday tweet reading, "Are you crazy?" Other lawmakers, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), criticized the request as well.

In response to the Treasury Department decision, Greenpeace USA spokesperson Cassady Craighill said:

The presumption by Exxon that it could get a pass and undermine United States foreign policy was ridiculous from the start, but not surprising given their old boss is now our chief diplomat. If the Trump administration had allowed Exxon to drill for oil in Russia, people from around the country and from both sides of the aisle in Congress would have unleashed widespread resistance.

"We will remain vigilant to make sure this egregious subversion of diplomacy for profit won't happen through any other channels," Craighill concluded.


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