Exxonmobil – An Appeal to Conscience
ExxonMobil Corporation, the world’s largest privately-held oil company, is for the last five years the most profitable company listed on the Fortune 500, taking in $40 billion in 2007 alone. It’s total profit from 2003 to 2007 amounts to $163 billion.
This financial success must be viewed, however, in light of a deeper truth: ExxonMobil’s management has been single-minded in seeking profits at the expense of low-income people and people of color in the United States and around the world.
In an example close to home, ExxonMobil’s facilities in Beaumont, Texas and elsewhere on the Texas Gulf Coast have discharged fumes and particles that have caused severe and sometimes fatal illnesses for people living close by, in many cases low-income African-Americans.
With respect to Iraq, ExxonMobil appears to have been involved in the planning leading up to the 2003 US/UK invasion. Now it is seeking to benefit from a US-designed oil law pending before the occupied government of Iraq. This law would give the company extraordinary control over Iraqi oil and extraordinary profits, all at the expense of the Iraqi people, who do not control their own government.
This pattern of exploitation of relatively powerless people by ExxonMobil can be found in almost every part of the world. ExxonMobil has not lived up to its own stated commitment to play “a critical role in promoting respect for human rights and complying with applicable laws and regulations.”
ExxonMobil seems to have a culture of ignoring and over-powering low-income people who, for years, have been seeking simple economic and political justice. This culture can been described as one that sees these people as enemies of profit. It a callous culture that is making ExxonMobil a global menace.
ExxonMobil’s rejection of the environmental concerns of people living around its facilities is fundamentally the same as its rejection of concerns about the impact of burning of fossil fuels on global warming.
Its willingness to view relatively poor people as obstacles to corporate expansion has led ExxonMobil to try to get oil holdings in Iraq amidst the great bloodshed of an occupied people and of the occupying troops.
ExxonMobil profits hugely from this bloodshed.
ExxonMobil was top seller of petroleum products to the Pentagon between FY 2003 and 2007, for a total of $4.2 billion. Moreover, ExxonMobil has benefited mightily from the rise in the world oil price, a significant portion of which has been traced directly to the Iraq War by noted economists such as Joseph Stiglitz and Dean Baker and by Congress’ Joint Economic Committee. ConsumersforPeace.org estimates that ExxonMobil’s windfall war profit over the five years of the war, directly related to the war, amounts to $40.75 billion.
The rise in oil prices from which ExxonMobil is profiting, and which is stimulated daily by the war, undermines consumers around the world and threatens global economic breakdown.
As environmental and economic chaos grows, ExxonMobil acts totally oblivious. It continues to fight any legislation and regulation seeking to put it and the oil industry on a more responsible environmental path, and continues to fight any legislation that seeks to recover its windfall war profits for the general welfare.
We call on ExxonMobil management to:
- Undertake health surveys of all the people living in communities where it has facilities and workers employed in them, on the Texas Gulf Coast and elsewhere, and to provide for relocation and on-going health care for people living near its facilities.
- Agree to undertake no long-term oil agreements or operations in Iraq while that country is occupied and to call for an immediate end to the occupation.
- Commit to using its windfall war profits for the last five years to aid victims of the Iraq War, the families of the dead and wounded inside and outside Iraq and those displaced from Iraq, numbering over 4 million people.
- Accept the necessity of a windfall war profits tax.
- Invest in alternative energy sources and alternative transportation systems as a way of reducing global warming.
Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit.
The Reverend Roy Malveaux, Pastor, Shining Star Missionary Baptist Church, Beaumont, Texas
The Reverend William T. Knipe, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
Nada Khader, Executive Director, WESPAC Foundation
Dahr Jamail, journalist specializing in Iraq – Dahr Jamail’s Middle East Dispatches
The Reverend Donna Schaper, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church, New York, New York
The Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, Senior Community Minister, Judson Memorial Church and Freeman Fellow, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Susan Julia, Community Minister, Judson Memorial Church, New York, New York
Sherrilynn Posey, Interfaith Seminarian, One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, New York, New York
Kathy Kelly, Co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Non-violence
Ted Glick, Coordinator, U.S. Climate Emergency Council
Paula Rogovin, a mother of a Marine in his second deployment
Ron Blount, President of Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania
Carole Wiedman, Anti-War Committee, The Thomas Merton Center
Bob McEllrath, International President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)
The Reverend L. Charles Stovall, Pastor, Munger Place United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas
Evelyn Hanneman, Operations Coordinator; LeDayne McLeese Polaski, Program Coordinator; and W. Robert Spinks, Networking/Development Coordinator –
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
Ann Wright, Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve (Retired), resigned from U.S. State Department in protest of the invasion of Iraq.
U.S. Labor Against War
The Reverend Dr. Diana C. Gibson, Co-Executive Director, Council of Churches, Santa Clara County, California
Dave Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
Rick Ufford-Chase, Executive Director for the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Valley Reed, Swords in Plowshares Team Leader, Dallas Peace Center
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine and Chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives
Hadi Jawad, Crawford Peace House, Crawford, Texas
Nick Mottern, Director, ConsumersforPeace.org
David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org