Appointment of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as U.S. Secretary of State is Alarming

December 15, 2016


Image shows a courthouse with an American flag outside

NYLPI is alarmed by the selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. In addition to his record of business deals with leaders whose interests run counter to those of the United States, Tillerson’s credibility on the key issues of climate change and human rights are compromised by his 41 years at ExxonMobil, a company whose legacy of environmental destruction and disregard for human rights spans the globe. From releasing one of the largest oil spills in the United States right in our backyard, beneath the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, to repeated expansion of its Beaumont, Texas oil refinery in the midst of an African-American community suffering staggering levels of asthma, to its sweetheart deals with one of Africa’s most corrupt governments in Equatorial Guinea which tortures critics and disregards election results, the company has done immeasurable harm to communities worldwide while reaping record profits. And while Tillerson has recently brought ExxonMobil around to publicly acknowledging climate change, the company has continued to aggressively fight attempts to hold it responsible for remediating legacy pollution and for misleading the public on climate change for many years. NYLPI stands in solidarity with environmental justice communities in the United States and around the world to oppose this appointment. If confirmed, Tillerson must put his career pursuing profits from extracting fossil fuels behind him, and put the interests of the American public and the world – particularly communities most vulnerable to climate change — first.

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