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Carolyn Maloney

House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.)—seen here at a hearing earlier this month—made a surprise announcement at the end of an October 28, 2021 congressional hearing on Big Oil climate misinformation that she would subpoena three fossil fuel companies and an industry lobby group. (Photo: Bill Clark/Pool/Getty Images)

House Dem Announces Subpoenas to 'Get to the Bottom' of Big Oil's Climate Disinformation

"We are at code red for climate," Rep. Carolyn Maloney said during a congressional hearing, "and I committed to doing everything I can to help rescue this planet and save it for our children."

Brett Wilkins

In a surprise move at the end of Thursday's highly anticipated congressional hearing on fossil fuel companies' climate misinformation, the chair of the House Oversight Committee announced she will subpoena four Big Oil corporations and an industry lobby group that she accused of not cooperating with the panel's investigation.

Maloney said she plans to subpoena ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Shell, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) to compel them to hand over documents they've withheld concerning the fossil fuel industry's efforts to misinform the public about their causal role in the climate emergency.

"We are at code red for climate and I committed to doing everything I can to help rescue this planet and save it for our children," she said during her closing remarks.

"We need to get to the bottom of the oil industry's disinformation campaign," Maloney added, "and with these subpoenas, we will."

Earlier during Thursday's hearing, Maloney—who said she had draft subpoenas ready to serve—attempted to force executives from the so-called #SlipperySix oil companies to commit to no longer funding opposition to emissions reductions and climate action.

"Unsurprisingly," she said, "no one took the pledge."

In a statement noting the subpoenas, Kyle Herrig, president of watchdog group Accountable.US, called out the industry executives for refusing to force their powerful trade group to stop undermining climate action.

"Time and again, wealthy oil and gas company executives were given opportunities to tell API to stop bankrolling the fight against climate and environmental initiatives they claim to support, but they refused each and every time,"he said.

"These executives spend massive sums of money on feel-good ad campaigns designed to convince consumers their oil and gas companies care about our planet," Herrig added, "but when push comes to shove, they fund API to do their dirty work and endorse its misinformation campaigns with silence."

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