Clean Air Villain of the Month

November 2000


Who says oil companies can't afford diesel cleanup?

(Washington, D.C. November 2, 2000) - The nonprofit Clean Air Trust today awarded its clean air "Villain of the Month" award for November to L.R. Raymond, chairman and CEO of the Exxon-Mobil Corporation.

Raymond earned this dubious distinction because his company continues to lead oil industry "poor mouthing" efforts to block the U.S. EPA's plan to clean up diesel fuel (the key to cleaning up dirty diesel trucks) -- at the same time ExxonMobil is so awash in cash that it doesn't know what to do with it all!

Think we exaggerate? Just last week, Exxon-Mobil announced that it banked $4.3 billion in earnings for the July-September period. (That doesn't count an additional $200 million it pocketed as a result of Exxon's merger with Mobil.)

The Washington Post recently reported that the "windfall" at Exxon-Mobil and other big oil companies "is raising questions" about how the companies "will spend their tide of surplus cash."

"At Exxon-Mobil, for example," the Post reported, "cash on the company's books jumped to $6.6 billion in the third quarter." The Post quoted an Exxon-Mobil official as confirming "we've got a lot of cash around here. It's coming in pretty fast, flying through the door."

That means Exxon-Mobil alone already has in hand nearly double the money needed to pay for cleaning up all the nation's highway diesel fuel over the next six years!

Of course, Exxon-Mobil isn't unique among oil companies in announcing record profits. The Clean Air Trust projects that major oil firms collectively made more than $15 billion in profits during the third quarter. (Call us if you want the details. The only major firm that hasn't reported profits yet is BP, which -- unlike ExxonMobil -- supports EPA's diesel cleanup plan. Tosco also supports the cleanup.)

So how is Exxon-Mobil going to spend that cash? Perhaps Raymond will get a raise. He only made $25 million in 1999 and had unexercised stock options worth more than $121 million, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Is the public really asking too much for the Exxon-Mobil mogul to spend a little less on anti-environmental lobbying and "advertorials" -- and to spend some of that surplus cash cleaning up diesel fuel?