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Oil industry's ad firms shun U.S. hearing on climate disinformation

Oil industry's ad firms shun U.S. hearing on climate disinformation

Reuters · 09/14/2022 07:00
Oil industry's ad firms shun U.S. hearing on climate disinformation

By Valerie Volcovici

- Public relations firms declined to attend a Wednesday hearing set by U.S. Democrats about whether they helped the fossil fuel industry spread disinformation about climate change, according to the House of Representatives panel holding the event.

The House Natural Resource Committee's oversight panel, led by U.S. Representative Katie Porter of California, had invited leading advertising and public relations firms to share documents and information related to their work for oil, gas and coal companies and to testify at the hearing.

"Of , PR (public relations) firms Singer Associates, Story Partners, and Pac/West Communications were invited but refused to attend," Committee spokesperson Lindsay Gressard said on Tuesday.

Gressard said FTI Consulting FCN.N, another PR firm the committee is investigating, will testify because it is working with the committee to turn in documents that the panel requested earlier this summer.

The hearing is the latest in a series of congressional hearings into whether the oil industry hindered government action on global warming.

While public scrutiny around energy companies' "greenwashing" claims has grown, the marketing agencies behind the campaigns have largely escaped scrutiny.

At the hearing, the committee will share findings of its investigation into public relations and advertising firms' work for fossil fuel companies based on its review of documents, such as their submissions for industry awards.

Republicans on the panel have criticized the hearing and said that advertising and public relations are out of the resource committee's jurisdiction.

The committee confirmed that witnesses will include Christine Arena, a former Edelman public relations executive who works in social impact filmmaking; Anne Lee Foster, a Colorado-based anti fracking activist; Melissa Aronczyk, a communications professor and pro-fracking advocate Amy Cooke, head of Colorado's free market Energy and Environmental Policy Center for the Independence Institute.


(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; editing by Richard Pullin and Susan Heavey)

((valerie.volcovici@thomsonreuters.com;))