Chair Grijalva, Rep. Porter Request Oil and Gas Public Relations Campaign Materials

Washington, D.C. – Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Katie Porter (D-Calif.) sent letters to five public relations (PR) firms—FTI Consulting, Story Partners, DDC Advocacy, Blue Advertising, and Singer Associates—that conduct PR campaigns on behalf of fossil fuel industry clients. The lawmakers also sent a letter to the American Petroleum Institute, a major oil and gas industry trade group that plays a major, active role in climate disinformation.

In their letters, the lawmakers request all documents and information related to any of the firms’ PR work, marketing, or influence campaigns for oil, gas, and coal companies and trade groups. As has been well-documented, the fossil fuel industry and its trade groups have worked extensively with PR firms for decades to wage a highly-funded, well-orchestrated misinformation campaign to deny and downplay the role of fossil fuels in climate change. Experts often compare their campaign tactics to those used by the tobacco industry.

Citing just one of the methods used by fossil fuel companies, the lawmakers write in their letters: “For example, as a senior ExxonMobil lobbyist (since fired) explicitly admitted, industry will gladly work with ‘shadow groups’ to secretly undermine climate efforts, and will rely on trade associations to be the ‘whipping boys’ at oversight hearings so that corporate executives can avoid having to answer tough questions.”

On sending the letter, Chair Grijalva said, “Thanks to the accidental truth-telling by the former ExxonMobil lobbyist, we know there is a lot to uncover about the ways fossil fuel companies spread disinformation and lies about climate change. If we’re going to take meaningful action against climate change, we need to be armed with facts and science, not industry propaganda. The American people deserve to know the truth and we intend to do our job to find it.”

Rep. Porter said, “Fossil fuel companies have been lying to the public for decades to cover up the damage they’re doing to the planet and our long-term economic wellbeing. The American people deserve the truth—and Big Oil needs to be held accountable. Chair Grijalva and I want answers.”

The letters follow a previous round of document requests that Chair Grijalva and Rep. Porter sent in February to organizations that give awards to PR firms in recognition for their work.

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