CIEL Statement on ExxonMobil’s Request for Russian Sanctions Waiver

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that ExxonMobil has applied to the Secretary of the Treasury seeking a waiver from US sanctions against the regime of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.  The sanctions were imposed in response to Putin’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine in violation of international law, and expanded after Russia interfered in the U.S. Presidential election, with the explicit objective of aiding the candidacy of Donald Trump. The waiver would allow Exxon and Russian oil company Rosneft to move forward on a $500 billion dollar joint venture to expand offshore drilling in the Black Sea and the Russian Arctic.

Carroll Muffett, President of the Center for International Environmental Law, issued the following statement:

True to its long track record of undermining human rights, democracy, and the environment, Exxon is calling in its next favor from the Trump Administration. The world’s worst polluter just asked the climate denying US President to waive sanctions against the Russian dictatorship that helped elect him, so that Exxon and Russia can sink billions into a climate-deadly oil project. If there was any remaining question about the oil industry’s egregious influence on this administration, this request eliminates all doubt.

The project is bad for the planet, bad for Exxon’s investors, and bad for everyone who believes dictators shouldn’t be rewarded for acts of international aggression. That Exxon would make this outrageous request to the Trump Administration should shock no one. That the Trump Administration might seriously consider it should outrage everyone.