Who Has the White House’s Ear on Climate and Energy?


What could ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson be discussing with the White House?

Tillerson, the head of the wold’s largest oil company, has made three visits to the White House this year, according to the vistor logs released on Friday evening. Tillerson was the only energy company CEO listed on the logs, though the logs only include names specifically requested.

Tillerson met with both Larry Summers, the director of Obama’s National Economic Council, and Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. This is the same Rex Tillerson who has questioned climate science, but also advocated for a tax on carbon rather than a cap-and-trade plan. Oh, and Exxon continues to fund climate change denial despite pledging to stop.

Notably, the list doesn’t seem to include any coal industry executives, a topic that drew attention earlier this year when Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the records of visits from the CEOs of 16 major coal companies and lobby groups. It appears that none of those CEOs have been hanging out at the White House after all.

Other interesting visitors with an interest in climate and energy policy: General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, who visited five times; Al Gore, who visited four times, and Newt Gingrich, who visited once.

UPDATE: Sebastian Jones also searched the logs and notes that that Chevron CEO David J. O’Reilly appears to have dropped by for five meetings with high-ranking administration officials.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.