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PSR Urges Clinton Foundation to Divest from ExxonMobil

April 14, 2016
Dr. Catherine Thomasson speaks on the health impacts of climate change

WASHINGTON, D.C.—On the heels of mounting investigations into whether ExxonMobil deceived the public and investors over climate change, activists gathered today at the National Press Club to release a letter—signed by celebrities and public interest groups—urging the Clinton Foundation to return more than one million dollars it has received from the oil giant. Signers include fifteen widely respected nonprofit groups as well as actors Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo and climate activists Tim DeChristopher and Lennox Yearwood.

"ExxonMobil is a company that has been fighting efforts to address the climate crisis for over 25 years," states the letter, which is addressed to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. "This includes spending $30 million to support groups whose basic purpose is to encourage doubt and denial about the facts of climate change. Given that [the Clinton Foundation] does work to fight climate change, we are writing to urge you to return the more than $1 million that your foundation has received from ExxonMobil in recent years."

Recent media reports show that top Exxon executives were told by their own scientists as far back as the 1970s that global warming was a fact and that fossil fuels were a prime driver. Now Attorneys General in California, New York, Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands have launched investigations into possible fraud and deception stemming from ExxonMobil's climate denial efforts. 

Wenonah Hauter, director of Food & Water Watch and the Food & Water Action Fund, signed the letter released today and had this to say at the press conference: "When future historians give their verdict on the twenty-first century, Exxon will be a top contender for committing the worst crimes against the earth—from the devastating Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska to funding a disinformation campaign focused on casting doubt on climate change."

As part of today's letter release, the CCAN Action Fund also launched a web site—— to help other organizations and citizens learn more about the ExxonMobil controversy and the Clinton Foundation.

Another letter signer, Lydia Avila, Executive Director of the Energy Action Coalition, said, "Our coalition works with young people around the country who are deeply concerned about their futures in an increasingly hotter and more unstable world. If the Clinton Foundation gave leadership to the effort to stabilize our climate by cutting all ties with ExxonMobil, youth worldwide would take notice."

Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the CCAN Action Fund, said, "Our request today is direct, simple, and imminently doable for a philanthropy that gives away hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Returning ExxonMobil's money sends the right signal to American citizens and the world at a time when Antarctic ice is imploding, seas are rising, and extreme weather is battering the four corners of the world."

Letter signer Dr. Catherine Thomasson, director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, added, "The Clinton Foundation helps millions of poor people all over the world who are struggling with poor health. That's good. But ExxonMobil's historic efforts to deny climate change have hurt many of these same people. One billion people already don't have access to safe drinking water and global warming will more than double that in the next decades. The Clinton Foundation should give back Exxon's money."

View the full letter and signers

Watch the press conference below: