Chevron spends a lot of time and money on its PR efforts aimed at convincing us that the company is a responsible corporate citizen concerned about the same things that keep us regular joes up at night, things like the environment, worker safety, and the inordinate influence of corporate money on our political process.
But if you’re really paying close attention (which we are), some times the truth slips out despite Chevron’s carefully prepared public façade. And the truth is, no matter what they say or do, the company is committed to putting profits over the planet and keeping us hooked on their dirty energy for as long as possible.
|We ran this half-page ad in the New York Times earlier this year depicting John Watson’s face accompanied by the message, “Chevron’s oil men have polluted the Ecuadorian rainforest for decades. This man can do something about it now.” As it turns out, this man is okay with waiting generations to do something about oil pollution. View more Rainforest Action Network pics on Flickr.|
For instance, Chevron CEO John Watson recently reiterated that his company is “neutral” on Prop 23 — the proposition that will be voted on by Californians this November that would essentially kill the state’s landmark global warming law. In fact, he reiterated his company’s neutrality over and over and over, despite being urged by the interviewer: “”Come on, take a stand here.”
But, after being pressed further and eventually leaving his official script behind for a moment, Watson stated that he thinks the transition from fossil fuels to what he called “new fuels” will take “generations.” Not if we have anything to say about it, Mr. Watson.
The planet can’t wait generations for clean energy to replace dirty fossil fuels like oil. John Watson and Chevron will continue to make a killing as long as we delay that transition, however, so it’s not hard to imagine how he arrived at his view on the matter.
The profit motive also explains why Chevron took third place on the Center for American Progress’s “Top 10 political pressure spending by energy companies” list, behind only Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips. From January 2009 to June 2010, Chevron spent over $28 million on lobbying and PAC contributions to federal candidates in order to protect its oil business.
The fact that Chevron spent so much on lobbying speaks even louder than Watson’s words. It’s time for Chevron to stop protecting its oily profits at the expense of the planet, and get real about being a responsible corporate citizen.