Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to several Trump Administration cabinet members and officials demanding information regarding the New York Times report that Marathon Petroleum, the largest oil refiner in the United States, engaged in a covert lobbying campaign with oil industry groups to support Trump Administration efforts to weaken fuel economy standards and increase demand for oil consumption. The lobbying campaign reportedly included contacts with federal agencies, including meetings between then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Marathon Petroleum CEO Gary Heminger.  The campaign also used a front group, titled “Energy4US,” to mask its ties to the oil industry while urging the public to support weaker standards.

The letter was sent to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Andrew Wheeler, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Mick Mulvaney, and Chief of Staff to the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) Mary Neumayr.

A copy of the letters can be found HERE, and full text of the letter and its attachment is below:

December 19, 2018


Dear Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, and Chief of Staff to the Council of Environmental Quality Mary Neumayr,

We write to convey our strong concerns regarding last week’s New York Times report that Marathon Petroleum, the largest oil refiner in the United States, along with oil industry and other groups[1], engaged in a covert lobbying campaign to support the Trump Administration’s proposal to weaken fuel economy standards for cars and SUVs.[2] The Administration’s proposal also seeks to remove California’s authority to set and enforce its own fuel economy standards, which have been adopted by 13 states, including Delaware and New York.

As reported by the Times, the campaign included contacts with federal agencies, including meetings between former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt and Marathon Petroleum CEO Gary Heminger. The campaign also reportedly used a front group, Energy4US, to mask its ties to the oil industry and advertise on social media urging consumers to comment on and support the Department of Transportation and EPA rulemakings that would weaken fuel economy standards.

It is no surprise that weakened fuel economy standards would increase greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of gasoline consumers would have to buy which would, in turn, increase oil industry profits. As Marathon’s CEO recently told its investors, a rollback of fuel economy standards would amount to Americans consuming an additional 350,000 to 400,000 barrels of gasoline per day.

Placing oil industry profits ahead of consumers, automobile industry workers and the environment is unacceptable. We believe that weakened fuel economy standards would hurt U.S. economic and national security, undermine global efforts to combat climate change, and create uncertainty for the automobile industry. Automakers and California have repeatedly urged the Trump Administration to abandon its current efforts and negotiate a reasonable compromise including continued fuel economy increases and the preservation of California’s long-standing authority to enforce its own fuel economy standards.[3]

It is essential that the Trump Administration is transparent regarding its oil industry contacts related to its efforts to weaken fuel economy standards. Accordingly, we request that you disclose your agency’s industry contacts related to any of these efforts. Please provide us with a response to the attached list of requested information no later than close of business on January 31, 2019.

 

Attachment 1

List of Requested Information

 

Covered Agency: Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation (including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the Department of Energy, the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

 

  1. Please provide a list of all meetings (including in-person meetings, telephonic and video conferences) that have occurred since January 20, 2017 between any political appointee at the covered agency, and any representative of Marathon Petroleum, AFPM (or any of its member companies), Koch Industries, ALEC (or any of its members) or Americans for Prosperity, at which fuel economy or greenhouse gas tailpipe standards was discussed, including the date of the meeting and a list of all meeting attendees and their affiliation(s).
  2. For each such meeting, please provide copies of all emails, meeting notes and summaries, memos, or other written materials, provided in advance of, at, or following the meeting, to any political appointee at the covered agency.
  3. Please provide copies of all correspondence (including letters, memos, emails, powerpoint presentations or other materials) received (or sent by) any political appointee at the covered agency from (to) any representative of Marathon Petroleum, AFPM (or any of its member companies), Koch Industries, ALEC (or any of its members) or Americans for Prosperity related to fuel economy or greenhouse gas tailpipe standards.

 

###