Founder of Pro-Fossil Fuel Group Once Claimed It Was a “Moral Crime” to Oppose Big Oil, Also Told Massachusetts Attorney General to “F*ck Off, Fascist” in Lawsuit Against Exxon for Misleading Public on Climate Change

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is holding a hearing on the “Misuse of Taxpayer Dollars and Corporate Welfare in the Oil and Gas Industry.” Notably missing from the witness list: several representatives from leading oil and gas companies who declined their invitations. Instead, testifying in their absence is Alex Epstein, a Koch-funded “philosopher” who frequently pushes climate denial while promoting the increased use of fossil fuels.  

“Rather than take the hot seat and answer for their industry’s decades-long fight against efforts to address the climate crisis, oil and gas industry executives dodged today’s House Natural Resources hearing, giving the floor instead to Koch-funded climate change denier Alex Epstein,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “With Big Oil companies funding Epstein’s career, it’s no mystery why he is so keen to take the mic and defend their harmful actions. House lawmakers should take his anti-science testimony for what it is – an attempt to deny science and maintain the climate-damaging status quo.”  

Epstein is the founder of the Koch-funded “for-profit think tank” Center for Industrial Progress, which pushes pro-fossil fuel rhetoric and solicits donations to fund its anti-environment work. Again, the enterprise is a “for-profit” think tank.  

In 2016, Epstein’s group was Included in a Massachusetts lawsuit against Exxon for misleading the public on climate change and fossil fuels. Responding to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s request for his emails in the case, Epstein wrote, “F*ck off, fascist” and argued for Exxon’s ability to spread disinformation. 

Epstein’s dodgy history of anti-climate activism includes: 

  • Denying climate change, dismissing concerns over climate catastrophes, and pushing for increased fossil fuel usage — even claiming it is “a moral crime” to oppose the oil and gas industry.
  • Charging exorbitant speaking fees (a “usual rate” of $23,500) and speaking to some of the biggest oil corporations in the county.
  • Opposing climate-conscious flaring reductions and the Paris Climate Accords by the American Petroleum Institute.
  • Providing pro-oil, anti-climate talking points to officials, including Texas regulators and Governor Greg Abbott following the Texas blackouts; and
  • Opposing government mask mandates and shutdowns during coronavirus, even blaming the green movement for allegedly worsening the public health crisis.

Read the full analysis by Accountable.US here.


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