Today Exxon Mobil announced record quarterly profits of $11.7 billion (this is not just a record for Exxon, mind you, but for all of United States corporate history).
Yesterday, the Pacific Legal Foundation, a property-rights law firm, filed a letter on behalf of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and other groups announcing their intention to challenge the listing of the polar bear as a “threatened species” under the Endangered Species Act in federal court. CORE is an organization deeply committed to opposing efforts to control global warming pollution.
The connection? Exxon is a major funder of CORE. Greenpeace has confirmed large contributions to CORE by Exxon Mobil or its corporate foundation as recently as 2005, and statement’s by Niger Innis, CORE’s National Spokesperson, certainly seem to indicate that contributions have flowed to the organization more recently than that (it’s unclear from the transcript exactly where they were directed):
Monica Trauzzi: OK. Are your climate change outreach efforts supported by Exxon Mobil?
Niger Innis: No, they are not. Our climate change outreach, our organization is, I mean, we're a nonprofit organization and you may know the business of being a nonprofit organization, if you're in the business of being a nonprofit organization you need to support from as many different corners and quarters, corporate as well as membership, as you can get. Exxon Mobil is one of many different supporters of the Congress of Racial Equality.
This is, of course, a very nice deal for Exxon. They get to indirectly bankroll a lawsuit that may undo federal protections for polar bears; protections that, not coincidentally, threaten their drilling exploration activities, all while avoiding any blowback.
NRDC and our allies will be monitoring this case closely, and when it’s filed we’ll be there to protect and defend the polar bear.