Energy & Environment

House panel asks five oil company board members to testify

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has issued another round of invitations to fossil fuel companies to testify about their knowledge of climate change, this time to board directors at major companies.

Witness invites shared with The Hill confirmed that the invitees include Enrique Hernandez, a director on Chevron’s board; Jane Holl Lute of the Shell board; Melody Meyer of the BP board; and Susan Avery and Alexander Karsner of the ExxonMobil board. The proposed hearing is set for Feb. 8. A spokesperson for the committee said the panel will release a full hearing advisory with further details in the weeks ahead.

In the invites, the committee notes that the companies in question list environmental protection duties among their board committee charters. It specifically requests testimony on the companies’ efforts on pledges to reduce or offset emissions, as well as whether those efforts are consistent with reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Our upcoming hearing will examine whether the industry is finally taking steps to curb its dangerous emissions, or is instead paying lip service while continuing to put our planet at risk. Boards of directors at fossil fuel companies play a key governance role in addressing the climate crisis,” Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “We invited them to testify so we can hold the fossil fuel industry accountable and ensure these companies are taking real action to combat climate change.”

The committee previously questioned senior executives from Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, as well as the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in October about the extent to which senior leadership had been aware of the role of fossil fuels in climate change. The next week, Maloney formally subpoenaed the witnesses, saying they had failed to provide most of the records requested by the committee. The companies have vowed to cooperate with the subpoenas.

The Hill has reached out to the invitees for comment.

Energy & Environment